Ronald Davis can move again after seven long years. Plaque clogged the artery carrying blood to his leg, which cut off oxygen flow. It's called Peripheral Artery Disease. Left alone, it can cause ulcers, gangrene and even lead to amputation.
Ronald began a last-ditch stem cell therapy at Duke University. His leg was marked for 30 injections, totaling millions of stem cells. For him, there was no other choice.
Cells are taken from the placentas of Israeli women who've given birth. Once injected, they secrete proteins, which boost additional cell growth. Then, it's believed those cells may contribute to the growth of additional vessels around the plaque, circumventing the blockage.
Three days after injections, Ronald was walking, and doctors say the oxygen level in his leg tissue jumped from 43 percent to 67 percent. This specific type of stem-cell therapy is currently involved in a phase-one clinical trial. P-A-D affects up to 20-percent of people over the age of 65.
BACKGROUND: Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs. When a person develops PAD, his extremities -- usually the legs -- don't receive enough blood flow to keep up with demand. This causes symptoms, most notably leg pain when walking.
SYMPTOMS: According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, the following symptoms are signs of PAD:
1) Painful cramping in the hip, thigh or calf muscles after activity such as walking or climbing stairs (intermittent claudication).
2) Leg numbness or weakness.
3) Coldness in the lower leg or foot, especially when compared to the other leg.
4) Sores on the toes, feet or legs that won't heal.
5) A change in the color of legs.
6) Hair loss or slower hair growth on the feet and legs.
7) Slower growth of toenails.
8) Shiny skin on the legs.
9) No pulse or a weak pulse in the legs or feet.
10) Erectile dysfunction in men.
STEM CELLS: According to the article, The Potential of Stem Cells: An Inventory, stem cells are found in all multicellular organisms. They are characterized by the ability to renew themselves through mitotic cell division and differentiate into a diverse range of specialized cell types.
BREAKTHROUGH: A recent research study determined the safety and possible effectiveness of various doses of stem cells. Investigators tested to see if the injection of stem cells would help in creating new collaterals and provide the vital conduit for blood flow to the parts of the leg below the block in patients with PAD. The cells, which were taken from pregnant women's placentas, were delivered with a needle into regions of the leg with claudication. The study, known as Autologous CD34+ Stem Cell Injection for Severe Intermittent Claudication, showed 39 out of 44 patients (approximately 89 percent) with severe PAD who were treated with stem cells had their legs saved from amputation.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Debbe Geiger, Senior Media Relations Officer
Duke Medicine News and Communications
(Information Provided by Ivanhoe)
Copyright (c) 2010 The E. W. Scripps Company
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