Already only in Japan an estimated 1,000,000 patients suffer from peripheral arterial disease caused by lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes or atherosclerosis. About200,000 patients are at high risk for amputations of lower limbs. To treat them it is possible to stimulate the growth of new vessels by implanting bone marrow or peripheral mononuclear cells (cell-based therapeutic angiogenesis). However, this method is not yet sufficiently effective, especially in the case of diabetes and dialysis patients, because the implanted cells are easily diffused. Two days after implantation, only less than 30% of cells remain in place.
Through this research, for the first time, a nano-scaffold has been developed that can be injected together with the cells into muscle tissue. The nano-scaffolds have been created using nanotechnology to coat poly-microspheres with HAp (nano-hydroxyapatite). HAp works well as a cell adhesive. When the scaffold is injected into muscle tissue together with cells it keeps the cells in place for a prolonged time. The research results show a 7-fold increase in the effectiveness of the collateral vessels formation and a 4-fold increase in preventing limb necrosis. The research result is expected to contribute significantly to better treatment of peripheral arterial disease.
The method is safe because the material is biodegradable inside the body after the therapeutic function finishes and there is also no danger of unknown infections because the material does not contain biological materials such as gelatin or collagen.