UI research suggests muscle stem cells could address diabetes-related circulation problems


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The Beckman Institute is located at 405 N Mathews Ave. in Urbana. The mayors of Champaign and Urbana, along with the village president of Savoy will announce Oct. 2 as Beckman Institute day to celebrate it’s 30th anniversary.

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Professors at the University found that stem cells had a positive effect on promoting better blood flow for diabetic mice that developed peripheral artery disease.

Wawrzyniec Lawrence Dobrucki, a professor in the Department of Bioengineering and head of the Experimental Molecular Imaging Laboratory at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, is the leader of the new study. 

“Almost every day I have seen diabetic patients suffering from severe PAD resulting in a low quality of life and limb amputations,” Dobrucki said. “I asked myself what I can do as a researcher to improve the diagnosis and the outcome of therapeutic interventions.”

Researchers found that new blood vessels began to grow after injecting the mice with stem cells. These new blood vessels improved the circulation in the affected tissue and function in the limbs.

Peripheral artery disease is difficult to be diagnosed although it’s common in diabetic patients on account of the symptoms patients experience could only indicate an advanced state.

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There are currently few treatment options for PAD; surgery and amputation have become necessary options for patients.

PAD patients often experience pain and limited mobility due to narrowed arteries in the limbs.

The result of their research suggests that stem cell treatment could be an additional option and is beneficial for those PAD patients who cannot exercise.

“I strongly believe that all biomedical research should have an ultimate goal to help people. Therefore, our research focused on using stem cell-based therapeutic interventions to reverse diabetic cardiovascular complication,” Dobrucki said.

The researchers are working on the identification of subpopulations of mesenchymal stem cells and optimization of the isolating cells conditions now.

The study was published in Theranostics, a scientific journal.

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