March 26, 2015

UAMS-Developed Omnibalm Cream Holds Promise for Preventing Diabetic Skin Ulcer Recurrence

LITTLE ROCK – Omnibalm Daily Foot Therapy, a cream for general and diabetic foot care developed at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), holds promise as a treatment for preventing the recurrence of lower extremity ulcers in diabetic patients, a pilot study indicates.

More extensive study will be necessary to confirm the study’s findings but the cream seems to be as effective for foot or lower extremity ulcers as the usual care — pressure-relieving footwear.

Bill Gurley, Ph.D., a UAMS College of Pharmacy pharmaceutical sciences professor, developed Omnibalm at the university. Omnibalm Daily Foot Therapy is a non-greasy formula that softens and helps repair dry, cracked skin and keeps feet healthy and shoes smelling fresh. It is marketed by Balm Innovations LLC, a UAMS Bioventures startup company licensed to take UAMS inventions from laboratories to the marketplace.

“One of the reasons for this study is that Omnibalm takes the place of several other products commonly used,” Gurley said. “Because Omnibalm has natural antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, it is both a therapeutically and economically effective alternative to using multiple products.”

The pilot study was a collaboration between Cheryl Armstrong, M.D., former chair of the Department of Dermatology in the UAMS College of Medicine; Jerad Gardner, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Pathology in the UAMS College of Medicine; and James Fletcher, M.D., an emergency medicine physician at the NEA Baptist Wound Care Clinic in Jonesboro.

The researchers enrolled 10 diabetic patients who presented at the Wound Care Clinic with a healed diabetic foot ulcer or a healed single lower extremity ulcer.

Subjects enrolled in the double-blind study were followed for a six-month period or until an ulcer recurrence. Five subjects, randomly chosen, received Omnibalm cream and five received the usual care. None of the five patients who received Omnibalm had any recurrence, and two of the five patients who received the usual care developed ulcer recurrence.

“The pilot study certainly corroborated the observations made for the last several years by many users of Omnibalm,” Armstrong said. “That none of the study’s subjects using the cream developed an ulcer recurrence certainly is promising, despite the small number of participants. The early findings provide us with strong preliminary data to justify a larger, multi-center trial involving participants from a more diverse array of regions.”

An analysis of digital photographs of each subject’s prior ulcer site taken during the six-month study period indicates there was no evidence of skin irritation or inflammation from the use of Omnibalm.

Omnibalm can be found in the diabetic sections of many Walmart stores in Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. It also is available at www.omnibalm.com.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a northwest Arkansas regional campus; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,890 students and 782 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS regional centers throughout the state. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com.