One in every 20 Americans over the age of 50 suffers from something called, peripheral arterial disease or PAD. It can result in clogged arteries in your legs, which can cause a heart attack, if left untreated. But now there’s a new approach. Doctors using a patient’s own stem cells to clear things up. (…)
The arteries in her leg are clogged with plaque which puts her at risk for heart attack, stroke and amputation. Traditionally, doctors treat PAD with stents, angioplasties or bypasses. But now, they’re using a patient’s own stem cells to try and save her legs.
“We basically take stem cells from their hips to help grow blood vessels,” said Dr. Randall Franz of Grant Medical Center.
Doctors use a needle to remove bone marrow from the patient’s hip. The marrow goes into a centrifuge to separate the stem cells.
“When we put it in you can see it was just all red. Now we have plasma, a buff coat and stem cells,” said Dr. Tom Hankins of Grant Medical Center.
Then, doctors inject the stem cells into the patient’s leg.
“It creates new, smaller blood vessels that give blood supply to the limb,” said Dr. Franz.
In one study, six out of nine patients who received the stem cell treatment avoided major amputation. McDonald had the treatment. Three months later, her leg pain and cramps are gone. She is pain-free and spunky as ever. (…)
Stem cell therapy may help circulation problems in legs
Stem cell therapy may help people with circulation problems in their legs. Duke researchers are testing the safety of injecting placental stem cells in patients with peripheral arterial disease, which may help them avoid amputation and stop leg pain.
For several of his 60 years, Ronald Davis has suffered a lot leg pain.
“I would get these cramps. I couldn’t walk distances,” he said. “I was in 24-hour-a-day pain, seven days a week.”
Davis had peripheral arterial disease. Just like a blocked heart artery, he had blocked arteries in the legs.
“Till right about here in the mid thigh, there’s a 100 percent occlusion,” said Duke Cardiologist Dr. Manesh Patel.
Even a surgical bypass failed, and Davis faced the possibility of amputation. Patel included Davis in a Phase 1 trial, which tested the safety of injecting stem cells in a solution called Pluristem into the leg where more blood flow is needed. The cells come from the blood of the placenta, the sac in which unborn babies grow.
“The placental cells are encouraging because we believe that they can differentiate into other types of bricks or cells that you need,” Patel said. “They may form the structure, the mortar of the new building and actual bricks, or they may actually call others to come and build that project.”
Patel says the process is proving to be safe, and with dramatic results in patients like Davis, as soon as three days after his treatment.
“And I realized … I could walk down steps normal. I wasn’t in pain,” he said. “To this day, I haven’t had to take another pain pill … and it looks like it’s going to get better, I hope.”
The Phase 1 safety trial for stem cell treatments is still recruiting patients and for Phase 2 trials to test the effectiveness of the treatments.