Promoting new blood vessel growth in people with limb ischaemia

An investigation of cell encapsulation as a strategy for enhancing angiogenic cell therapy in the ischaemic limb

Bijan Modarai (lead researcher)

King's College London

Start date: 09 October 2013 (Duration 3 years)

In humans, ischaemia – lack of oxygen in the circulation – can cause peripheral arterial disease – which is common in elderly people, and can be very painful – and even cause gangrene and require limb amputation. Dr Bijan Modarai’s team from King’s College London are looking at the best way to encourage the growth of new blood vessels using cell culture models and in the legs of mice that are injured because of a blocked off blood supply causing ischaemia. A current approach to treat limb ischaemia is to deliver fresh cells to the area of injury that are known to encourage growth of a new vessel network. However, so far the results in trials of this treatment have been disappointing because the cells being introduced may die, move away from the injured area, or may be rejected by the immune system as ‘foreign’ and potentially dangerous.

The team hopes to overcome these obstacles by putting the therapeutic cells into a microscopic capsule which protects them, keeping them at the site of injury while allowing them to take effect. They will test this method by injecting the capsules into mice with legs damaged by ischaemia. The group will monitor the cells to see their effect on the injured blood vessels. This has clear potential to be tested further to see if the capsules developed in the laboratory may one day make it to the clinic. Encouraging new blood vessels to grow at injured sites holds great potential not only in fighting limb ischaemia, but also for patients who lose heart muscle after a heart attack.

Project details

Grant amount £295,367
Grant type Project Grant
Start Date 09 October 2013
Duration 3 years
Reference PG/12/83/29917
Status In progress

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