Oxidised regenerated cellulose/collagen matrix (ORC/collagen matrix) modifies wound microenvironments by binding and inactivating excess levels of proteases such as elastase, plasmin and gelatinases in wound exudates. To compare levels of the gelatinases matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP-2), elastase and plasmin in wound exudates collected from chronic venous insufficiency patients with venous leg ulcers treated with either an ORC/collagen matrix or a standard control therapy. During a 12-week treatment period, wound exudate samples were obtained from a control group of 10 patients treated with a hydrocolloid dressing and a treatment group of 17 patients treated with a combination of ORC/collagen matrix and hydrocolloid dressing. On admission and days 5, 14 and every subsequent 14th day, ulcers were photographed to determine healing rate and changes in ulcer appearance, and MMP-2 concentration and the gelatinase, elastase and plasmin activities were analysed from wound exudates. The patients treated with ORC/collagen matrix showed a significant decrease in elastase, plasmin and gelastinase activity as compared with the control group, with no significant difference in the MMP-2 concentrations between the two groups. The results show a significant and immediate reduction in protease activity in wound exudates from venous leg ulcers treated with ORC/collagen.