A substance that used to be thrown away as medical waste is now helping to heal wounds.

FOX's Alex Hein has the details:

As the rate of diabetes continues to rise, the foot ulcers and chronic wounds that come with the condition, and can lead to amputations, remain a persistent problem.

But now, medical professionals are turning to wound dressings made from human amniotic membrane, a tissue found in the human placenta, that seems to heal wounds faster. The method uses a substance that would otherwise end up discarded as medical waste.

The membrane is a thin, intricate protein mesh that covers the placenta as a fetus develops. It resembles a piece of standard cling wrap but is full of growth factors, stem cells and nutrition.

The idea is not entirely new. Researchers once experimented with it and found success in using it for eye surgery. It was used less in years after WWII, then the rise of aids and other blood-borne diseases saw it all but disappear.

However, researchers have now developed methods to safely test and sterilize the membrane for use in dressings.

For more on this story, check foxnewshealth.com.

Housecall for Health, I'm Alex Hein, FOX News.