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New leg ulcer treatment uses dead donors' skin

By Alex Diaz

A great-grandmother has become the first person in the UK to be healed by a new treatment for leg ulcers.

Jessie Townley (92) had an hour-long operation involving a new form of skin graft known as decellularised dermis — which comes from deceased skin donors.

One of 20 people taking part in a clinical trial at University Hospital South Manchester, Mrs Townley has become the first patient to make a full recovery.

She has suffered ulcers on her right leg for 20 years and is among the one in a 100 people believed to develop the condition in their lifetime at a cost of £1bn a year.

The Manchester widow, grandmother of 12 and great-grandmother of seven, said the treatment had given her a “new lease of life”.

She said: “When these lovely doctors and nurses asked me to try this new treatment I thought it might not work for me, but it could help younger folk.

“I am delighted with the results and I feel so grateful.”

Under the process, the donor's cells are removed from the skin and processed by the NHS Blood and Transplant Service based in Liverpool.

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