Gene Therapy Helps Poor Circulation in Legs
January 21, 2003 06:10:27 AM PST, HealthScout News
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TUESDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthScoutNews) -- Gene therapy that stimulates the growth of new blood vessels may someday replace the need for amputation in people with severe circulation problems in their legs.

Researchers from the Jobst Vascular Center in Ohio presented their findings Jan. 21 at the 15th Annual International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy in Miami Beach. They conducted a Phase I trial to assess a genetically engineered angiogenic growth factor called NV1FGF in legs with severely blocked blood vessels.

The study of 51 patients found the treatment was safe and the procedure showed some evidence -- less pain, improved ulcer healing and enhanced blood pressure -- of improved circulation in the legs.

The researchers are now enrolling 70 people in a Phase II trial that will compare the effectiveness of the growth factor against a placebo.

Diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol levels and genetics can cause people to develop blocked arteries in the legs. In most of those people, bypass surgery or angioplasty can restore circulation. However, some people with blocked arteries in the legs don't respond to standard treatments and have a poor prognosis.

As many as 40 percent of those people must have leg amputation, and one in five dies within six months, the researchers say.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about atherosclerosis in the legs.

http://health.yahoo.com/search/healt...s&p=id%3A34464