Can stem cells help us restore blood flow to the limbs?
Perivascular delivery of bioengineered scaffold for treatment of limb ischaemia
Paolo Madeddu (lead researcher)
Bristol, University of
Start date: (Duration 3 years)
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a common circulatory problem where arteries become narrowed, reducing blood flow to the limbs. Over a quarter of people with critical limb ischemia (CLI), the most advanced form of PAD, are unsuitable for treatment. We urgently need to find new ways to treat people who have this condition.
Transplanting stem cells ‘perivascularly’, or along the blocked limb arteries, could help new blood vessels form, bypassing the blockage. Alternatively, scientists could use microparticles embedded with stem cells. Professor Paolo Madeddu and his team have combined both approaches in mice. They found that using microparticles to deliver human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) boosted the growth of small blood vessels alongside the narrowed artery.
The BHF has awarded a BHF PhD studentship grant to Professor Madeddu to train a student to explore whether growing stem cells on a biological scaffold and implanting the scaffold around a blocked artery can encourage new blood vessels to grow and restore blood flow to the limbs.
Ultimately, this research could reveal a new way to treat people with PAD, offering them a better outlook and quality of life.
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