Worcester, Massachusetts : More than 30 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are at risk of developing a foot ulcer. About half of the patients Tammy T. Nguyen, MD, PhD, sees at UMass Memorial Medical Center with diabetes and peripheral arterial disease require a lower-extremity amputation because of uncontrolled infections in their feet.
“This causes a dramatic detriment to someone’s lifestyle, not being able to walk on their feet and losing their independence,” said Dr. Nguyen, assistant professor of surgery at UMass Chan Medical School and the medical director of the Vascular Surgery Lower Extremity Wound Clinic at UMass Memorial Medical Center.
The nonprofit Vascular Cures has awarded Nguyen the 2022 Wylie Scholar Award for her research project exploring how the diabetic immune system contributes to nonhealing ulcers. She wants to understand why nonhealing foot ulcers develop in the diabetic population and how amputations can be prevented. Nguyen has developed a novel method to collect and expand human stem cells directly from the bone marrow of diabetic and nondiabetic patient donors that underwent lower extremity amputation for nonhealing wounds.
Nguyen joined the UMass Chan faculty in 2020 after completing her residency here. The Southern California native is an MD/PhD graduate of the University of Utah School of Medicine. Her PhD is in biochemistry.