University of Louisville conducted a clinical trial involving the use of a patient’s stem cells to construct bypass grafts with the goal of conserving the limbs affected by peripheral artery disease. The principal investigator of the study and the chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapeutics, Dr. Charles B. Ross, said that the first batch of patients who underwent this unique procedure is able to thrive well post-operatively.
The procedure is part of the Phase I clinical trials, utilizing an advanced system to get a patient’s stem cells. These cells are then coated within the interiors of the synthetic vein graft, in the hopes of decreasing the chances of rejection through blood clotting. Specifically, fatty tissues are isolated from each patient through liposuction, where they are concentrated with stem cells and affixed into grafts during the patient’s operation. This falls under “point-of-care” testing, where clinical trials are performed during patient care.
Although lining prosthetic grafts with fresh stem cells are not exactly new, the point-of-care testing is what sets the study apart.”This ultimately could make the technology available in any hospital where vascular bypasses are performed,” Dr. Ross explained.
Dr. Stuart Williams, the executive and scientific director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute who is also a researcher from Dr. Ross’ team, developed the unique method of isolating a patient’s stem cells from fatty tissue, so that they can be coated in the insides of synthetic grafts.
Peripheral vascular disease develops when plaques or fatty substances clog the blood vessels, resulting in a myriad of debilitating complications, such as venous insufficiency, deep vein thrombosis and many more.
The researchers have expressed their delight in perfecting the stem cell process, as this can pave more ways for people to avoid amputations as a treatment for advanced vascular diseases. Although the novel technique is yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it is a very remarkable feat in medical research.