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'Seeing' Stem Cells Helps in Fight Against Peripheral Arterial Disease
Date:3/10/2009

Unique Interventional Radiology Research Puts Puzzle Pieces Together in Regenerating Blood Vessels to Open Clogged Arteries, Uses Firefly-like Bioluminescence Imaging Agent

SAN DIEGO, March 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Interventional radiologists are fitting together the puzzle pieces of how to use stem cells to create new or more blood vessels to treat peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in those individuals with extensively narrowed or clogged arteries. That puzzle may be closer to being solved in light of recent successful techniques that use simple imaging to view and locate transplanted stem cells and to confirm that they remain alive in the body once injected, notes a study presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 34th Annual Scientific Meeting.

PAD, which affects about 10 million Americans, is a chronic disease that progressively restricts blood flow causing poor blood circulation (generally in the legs) and if left untreated can lead to serious medical complications, including heart attack, stroke, amputation and death. Many people can manage the symptoms of PAD and stop its progression through lifestyle changes. If lifestyle changes are not enough, additional medical treatment may be needed, including prescribed medicine to prevent blood clots, lower blood pressure and cholesterol and control pain.

Interventional radiologists treat severe cases of PAD with minimally invasive treatments, including angioplasty and insertion of stents. "However, some patients have extensive disease -- with so many blood vessels affected -- that they're difficult to treat," said Frank Wacker, M.D., interventional radiologist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md. That's where stem cells -- and image-guided stem cell therapy -- come in. "One day, stem cells may enable the targeted delivery of cellular treatments to PAD patients who may be facing amputation and death. It will be imp
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SOURCE Society of Interventional Radiology
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