The term “ischemia” refers to conditions under which a part of your body, organ, or tissue is deprived of oxygen. Without life-giving cells begin to die. Therefore, ischemia is usually a very bad thing.
Critical limb ischemia or CLI results when blood vessels to the legs, feet or arms are severely obstructed. The results of CLI are never pretty, and CLI remains a medical condition that presents few treatment options.
A study from a research team and the University of Bristol’s School of Clinical Sciences has used stem cells in a trial that uses laboratory mice to treat CLI. The success of this study provides a new direction and new hope for procedures that relieve symptoms and prolong the life of the limb.
Autologous stem cells treatments, or those stem treatments that utilize a patient’s own stem cells care subject to clear limitations. After collection from bone marrow, fat, or other source, the stem cells must be expanded in culture after stimulation with chemicals called cytokines. After growth in culture, the cells typically contain a collection of different types of stem cells of variable quality and potency. Also, if the patients has had a heart attack or has diabetes, then the quality and potency of their own stem cells are seriously compromised.
To circumvent this problem, Paulo Madeddu and his team at the Bristol Heart Institute have used an immortalized human neural stem cell line called CTX to treat animals who suffered from diabetes mellitus and CLI.
The CTX cell line comes from a biotechnology company called ReNeuron. This company is using this cell line in a clinical trial for stoke patients, and wants to use the CTX cell line in a clinical trial for CLI patients in the future.
When CTX cells are injected into the muscle of diabetic mice with CLI, the cells promote recovery from CLI. The CTX cells do so by promoting the growth of new blood vessels.
Madeddu said, “There are not effective drug interventions to treat CLI. The consequences are a very poor quality of life, possible major amputation and a life expectancy of less than one year from diagnosis in 50 percent of all CLI patients.”
Dr. Madeddu continued: “Our findings have shown a remarkable advancement towards more effective treatments for CLI and we have also demonstrated the importance of collaborations between universities and industry that can have a social and medical impact.”