observe protein production. The results will first be compared with the results gathered from the mice that didn’t receive meth, then Martinez will conduct a comparison between groups of female and male mice.
“Previously, I was involved in a project in which we used nanoparticles to apply to wounds to enhance healing,” he said. “So, I have ambitions of creating a patch that can be applied to wounds so they can heal faster. It would be portable and could be a game changer in the treatment of these populations because in the United States now roughly $20 million dollars are spent in care associated with wounds and meth users.”
Martinez’s past experience researching the impacts of methamphetamines in the human body has been groundbreaking and will be useful resources in his quest to reduce costs of meth wounds for the health care system.
He developed the first infection model in meth-exposed animals and was the first researcher to demonstrate the effects of the drug on the response of the host, and found that meth increases the probability of the central nervous system to develop microbial infections and meth disrupts the blood-brain barrier in mice, which consequently causes wide-ranging modifications to the brain.
“In my former lab, [my team was] the first to use animal models to show effects of meth use in infections,” he said. “And we were already able to show how meth affects specific aspects of the immune system that are important in wound healing and eliminating bacteria. So, when I started to collect preliminary data, I decided to just submit for a grant from NIH, and it seems like they liked the idea because they gave me the money.”
Martinez explained that the only way to study wound healing and general immunological responses connected to meth is by using animal subjects as test models for possible treatments. But once a concrete foundation of outcomes has been gathered, the NIH grant will allow Martinez to take his pre-clinical studies a step further and raise awareness on meth as a major drug of abuse.
“Most of the work is still pre-clinical but to take it to the next level, we have to do a clinical trial,” he added. “We need to involve patients so we can work directly in the wounds, either by getting samples or seeing what kind of infections they get because that’s not well documented in the literature.”