About Harold Brem, MD

Dr. Brem is a board-certified general surgeon who has devoted his thirty-year career to providing the highest quality of wound care for patients with all types of wounds. He leads assembled a word class team of physicians, nurses, and clinicians in New Jersey dedicated to healing patients with wounds, and has active collaborations with specialists nationally and internationally to better understand how wounds heal and how to develop better treatments for hard to heal wounds. With his extensive background in wound healing—both as a clinician and as a researcher—he is dedicated to the conviction that, with proper diagnosis and treatment, almost any wound can heal.

Each patient receives a highly individualized care plan based on both the type of wound and any underlying conditions that might hinder healing. From the first visit, Dr. Brem and his team will develop a plan in collaboration with you and tell you precisely what the expectations are.


Dr. Brem's accomplishments

Dr. Brem’s Story

Dr. Brem’s training in wound healing began in 1982 when he was a college senior. He studied under Dr. Judah Folkman at Harvard, writing a thesis on the relation between blood supply and tumor growth. Dr. Brem’s first major discovery was that the same mechanisms that can block cancer growth can, if reversed, heal wounds.

During his medical school training, Dr. Brem took a 4 month rotation in Dr. Mike Harrison’s laboratory at the University of California San Francisco to study wound healing. He then obtained a three-year fellowship at Harvard where he dedicated his research to better understanding the mechanisms of healing. In 1989, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested  to determine the safety of how a new class of anti angiogenic cancer fighting compounds  wound affect patients with wounds. Dr Brem found doing hundreds of experiments in the Cell biology laboratory of Dr Folkman that in fact wound healing could be regulated and deficiencies reversed.

In 1998, Dr. Brem founded one of first academic wound healing basic science laboratories directly correlated to clinical care. In addition to studying the mechanisms of wound healing and the basic science of new treatments, he was also involved in clinical research and, of course, treating patients with wounds.

Dr. Brem’s numerous papers have been referenced many thousands of times, and his discoveries have contributed incrementally to the field of wound healing. The National Institute of Health, Agency for Health Research and Quality, the American Diabetes Association, The United Spinal Association have generously supported his research   and major contributions from philanthropy.

Here are some of his teams  major discoveries:

  • Pioneered the use of regenerative medicine in every day clinical use for wounds. By using therapies that can actually regenerate human cells and tissues to restore normal function.
  • Established the use of growth factors, tissue implants and hyperbaric oxygen to work in synergy to accelerate healing.
  • In collaboration with his long-time colleague, Dr. Marjana Tomic-Canic (University of Miami Miller School of Medicine), Dr. Brem discovered the genes that prevent wounds from healing. With this knowledge it has become possible to guide surgical debridement at a cellular level.
  • Dr. Brem recorded the first peer-reviewed videos for the American College of Surgeons on wound healing techniques. These videos demonstrated fundamental wound healing surgical techniques to a greatly expanded audience than ever before.
  • Dr Brem and his colleagues provided national certificate courses teaching how to apply all of the new technologies to everyday patient care.
  • His team of collaborators published the first “protocols” for pressure ulcers, venous ulcers, and diabetic ulcers. These protocols inaugurated a paradigm shift in the field of wound healing, transforming the care of chronic wounds from a series of suggested guidelines to detailed, evidence-based treatments for each type of wound.
  • Dr Brem established innovative  treatments for osteomyelitis
  • Dr. Brem pioneered the use of the “wound electronic medical record,” which greatly enhanced not only the ability of clinicians to record important patient data (including photographs of the wound so that its size can be closely followed), but also the ability to transmit this data to any clinician involved in a patient’s wound care.
  • Studied in the laboratory the use of Granulocyte  Colony Stimulating Factor making its every day clinical use pragmatic and efficacious
  • Created a world class team to perform limb salvage
  • Studies in the laboratory the mechanisms of healing in persons with diabetes including the discovery of how age and diabetes work in synergy to impair healing.
  • Established a group of general surgeons, plastic surgeons, Urological surgeons, Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons, cardiac surgeons, gynecological surgeons, dermatologists, cardiologists, pulmonologists, diabetologists, pedorthists, hospitalists, pathologists,  and orthotists who work with 24/7 availability for the most complex patients. Transfers are taken into the hospital at Barnabas at 732-926-4111

With the Support of the National Institute on Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

Dr. Brem and his team have also led the way in developing innovative surgical debridement techniques that utilize molecular markers to guide the removal of wound tissue, in order to maximize wound healing while minimizing the number of debridement procedures required for healing.

These Debridement Procedures

Have now become the standard care for treating diabetic foot ulcers that pose a risk of limb loss. Dr. Brem and his colleagues also published the first article describing a new regenerative cellular therapy for patients with diabetic foot ulcers, involving the use of human fibroblast keratinocytes and stem cells—an approach that promises to further decrease the risk of limb loss in patients with diabetes.


In addition to his own clinical research

Activities on various aspects of wound healing, Dr. Brem has mentored a number of clinical diabetes researchers in training, including research fellows, medical students pursuing sub-specialties in clinical research and diabetes, and junior faculty members learning to apply their own specialty areas to help improve outcomes for patients with diabetic foot ulcers and other complex wounds.