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Stem Cells to Reduce Amputations in Diabetic &Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Patients!

A team of researchers from the University of California, Davis, are on the verge of exploring the potential of adult stem cells in Diabetic and Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) patients in increasing the blood circulation to the lower parts of their legs, thereby preventing the possibility of future amputations.

Every year, nearly 85,000 amputations are performed In the USA alone on PAD patients.

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a result of the accumulation of plaque in the arteries that carry blood to your limbs, organs and heart. Plaque is a combination of calcium, fat, fibrous tissue, cholesterol and other materials in the blood. Plaque in turn leads to limited blood flow to the organs due to narrowed arteries. PAD is often seen to affect the legs and feet of a person.

Therapies such as force opening arteries with balloons, placing stents etc are performed on PAD patients. But, failure of these approaches in some patients leaves them with the last option of amputation of the leg.

The study to be conducted in the University of California is based on the strategy that the stem cells extracted from a patient’s body can be programmed to form new blood vessels without causing any autoimmune reaction. These can then transport blood to the lower extremities where the blood supply is affected.

The experiment begins with the extraction of bone marrow from the patient’s pelvis. This will be spun in a centrifuge, after which the endothelial progenitor cells (stem cells that transform into blood vessels in the womb) will be separated.

These progenitor cells having the capacity to form new blood vessels will then be introduced at several points of the damaged leg which is facing the risk of amputation.

The patients involved in this trial will visit the lab five times after getting injected with the cells within a year.

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