Algal cells could help prevent limb amputation

According to scientists at the St Thomas’ Hospital and King’s College London a new algae-based treatment could reduce the need for amputation in people with Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI). CLI is a severe obstruction of the arteries which markedly reduces blood flow to the extremities (hands, feet and legs) and progresses to the point of severe pain, skin ulcers or sores and often results in amputation.
Alginate from the cell walls of brown algae, which is mainly found in cold waters in the Northern Hemisphere, has been used to form small capsules containing macrophages, a type of white blood cell. The research work indicated that these macrophages successfully remained in the injured area, new blood vessels formed, and as a result, more blood reached the damaged area.
To date the treatment has been carried out on mice, Scientists are planning to move this research into human clinical trials to help the people visiting the hospital with CLI. Scientists believe that this new way of delivering cells could be the key to creating an effective treatment for people suffering from CLI.

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