Poor circulation in the legs and feet can lead to the loss of limbs or even the loss of life, but hope is on the horizon. A new treatment could help millions of people get their blood flowing again.
Until recently, Derrick Blount was unable to ride his bike. He said the problem was that "being in a sitting position would greatly restrict the blood flow to my left leg."
Blount has Buerger's disease, a form of poor circulation brought on by smoking. He quit the habit and almost had to quit his art gallery job because of his leg limitations. Where as tasks like hanging a picture should take no more than 20 minutes, it was taking him and hour-and-a-half.
So, Blount took part in Dr. Omaida Velazquez's clinical trial at the University of Miami. The doctor is taking stem cells from patients' hip bones and injecting them into their legs and feet to help restore circulation.
"It is believed that these cells release some growth factors and proteins that help in regeneration of blood vessels," explained Velazquez, chief of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Velazquez said the treatment could help millions of people with dangerous circulation problems, like peripheral arterial disease.
Blount's not sure if he's getting the stem cells in the double blind study, but said, "These blood pressures are very significantly improved on his left toes, and clinically, almost to a miraculous level."
Right now, the trial is recruiting participants across the country. See the research summary for information about the trials.
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