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Today's top news stories for April 7, 2009.

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Western research fights diabetes with stem cells
Recent stem cell research at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry could result in new treatments for severe side effects of diabetes.

Research led by David Hess, an assistant professor at Schulich, has isolated three different types of stem cells from human bone marrow which will induce blood flow and new blood vessel formation when transplanted into immune-deficient animals.

Hess’ research was used as pre-clinical data to receive approval for a multi-centre clinical trial in Houston, Texas.

The study’s findings could benefit individuals suffering from peripheral vascular disease, a complication of diabetes. Hess’ research could lead to an improved method of treatment " especially for patients suffering from critical limb ischemia. Ischemia is a condition where blood flow is restricted to parts of the body and in its most severe form the disease can result in amputation.

“If we can get the right stem cell to the right place, we can get the stem cells to induce the formation of the new blood vessels to restore circulation in the limbs of these patients,” Hess said.

So far, research has only demonstrated this in mice, but the clinical studies will determine whether or not this method can be applied to humans.

Depending on a number of variables, if the clinical trials are successful, Hess said the medical community could be seeing results relatively soon.

“It depends but ... I would expect in three to five years this could be incorporated into treatment for people with critical limb ischemia.”
" Jaela Bernstien

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