Researchers Look to Collaborate With Cuba on Diabetic Wound Therapy

Sarver Heart Center members Marvin Slepian, MD (left white coat), and David Armstrong, DPM, MD, PhD  (right white coat), are in discussions with Cuban researchers to pursue a groundbreaking partnership to steward U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of a drug that helps heal diabetic foot ulcers.
The drug, Heberprot-P, has been used in Cuba since 2006 and is being used in 26 other nations. Developed by the Cuban Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Heberprot-P has resulted in rapid wound healing, a 75 percent reduction in amputations and longer and better quality of life for diabetic patients treated with the drug. The Cuban embargo has left the United States without access to this lifesaving drug.
Dr. Armstrong is professor of surgery at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson and director of the Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance (SALSA), a collaborative clinical and research alliance based at the UA Health Sciences dedicated to advancing care of the diabetic foot and preventing amputations in North America and worldwide. Dr. Slepian, professor of medicine and biomedical engineering, directs the Arizona Center for Accelerated Biomedical Innovation (ACABI),
which helps researchers form collaborations, find applications for new discoveries, develop their technologies and access resources to move their innovations forward.
More Honors for Dr. Slepian
Dr. Slepian also was inducted as a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria,Va. on April 15. NAI fellow status is granted to academic inventors who “have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.” Dr. Slepian is a named inventor on 52 issued patents and applications and is a co-founder of SynCardia Systems, which makes the only FDA approved total artificial heart. The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine named Dr. Slepian Alumnus of the Year.