Boost for diabetes patients
STEM CELLS TAKEN from muscle tissue could boost blood flow in patients with diabetes who develop peripheral artery disease — a painful complication in which the patient may require surgery or amputation.
A study at the University of Illinois in the US found that an injection of the stem cells in mice prompted new blood vessels to grow, improving circulation in the affected tissues and function in the affected limbs. The stem cells also induced changes in gene expression in the surrounding tissues, prompting the release of factors to reduce inflammation and increase circulation.
Study leader Wawrzyniec Lawrence Dobrucki, a professor of bioengineering and medicine at the University of Illinois, said that the results suggest that stem cell treatment could be used for patients at severe stages of peripheral artery disease who cannot exercise.
Stem cell treatment
“Stem cell treatment could help bring the patient to the level where they can start exercising or save them amputation,” said Prof Dobrucki.
The researchers also found that in mice given the stem cell injections, the gene expression in the leg with peripheral artery disease was close to that of the unaffected leg. Also, compared with the mice that did not receive the stem cells, there were genes activated to combat some diabetic complications, for example, genes associated with inflammation were repressed.
Peripheral artery disease is common in diabetic patients, and if left untreated, often leads to foot ulcerations and limb amputations. There are few treatment options.
The study has been published in the journal Theranostics.