Diabetic FootDiabetic foot ulcers are the primary cause of hospital admissions for diabetics. Diabetes increases blood sugar levels which in turn damages nerves and blood vessels. Such nerve damages cause loss of feeling in feet and the patient may not come to know of a cut or blister. Foot injuries like this blow up to be ulcers and infections and if serious may lead to amputation. Thus diabetic foot is a major concern for all late stage diabetic patients as it usually leads to amputations of lower limbs - especially the feet.
Intensive wound management, risk reduction and lengthy rehabilitation are the current treatment options available for diabetic foot ulcers. The current treatments available for diabetic foot are both expensive and labor intensive. Stem cell studies have determined that stem cell therapy can be effectively used to treat and facilitate faster recovery for this condition.
With new research in Stem cell therapy the potential of avoiding diabetic foot is becoming a reality. Recent studies in Stem cell therapy show that this therapy can treat diabetes with complications of gangrene and foot ulcer. The new therapy is said to treat ulcers and enhance tingling sensation on feet. With diabetic foot patients develop large areas of pus and deep wounds, now with Stem cell injection there can be 70-80 percent improvement in pus and wounds.
It has been found in research that human embryonic or foetal stem cells can effectively be used to treat back leg ischaemic ulcers in a model of type 1 diabetes. It was also found that the culture had wound healing quality which therefore in turn could be used for the same.
In diabetic foot patients develop, ischaemic (the blood supply to a tissue is greatly reduced) or non-ischaemic ulcers. It has been documented that patients with foot ulcers have the worst outcome of all chronic skin wounds. With advancement in stem cell therapy, in a novel treatment the stem cells themselves are not surgically removed from bone marrow, or transplanted from a donor source, they are instead integrated and applied as a topical drug delivered in cream form. This topical gel containing single growth factors has recently been used with some success in non-ischaemic ulcers, but has been unsuccessful in ischaemic ulcers.
The healing activity of stem cells is because of their abilities of Self renewal (this is their unique ability to go through numerous cycles of cell division while maintaining the undifferentiated state) and Potency (the capacity to differentiate into specialized cell types).
Researchers have used both adult as well as embryonic stem cells in their studies for treatment of diabetic foot ulcers, showing that embryonic stem cells could be more therapeutically effective than adult stem cells. It has been manifested that the ability to multiply, to integrate with the host tissue and to divide into other functional cells to replace the damaged cells is better in embryonic stem cells. Closure of ischaemic diabetic ulcers is accelerated with embryonic stem cells while stem cells from blood of adult donors are not so effective.
Serious long-term complications of type 1 diabetes include chronic wounds and diabetic foot ulcers. There is increased risk of requiring a non-traumatic limb amputation, due to the difficulties involved in managing type 1 diabetes. Stem cell research represents a useful way to help identify new strategies for dealing with diabetic foot.
Embryonic stem cell research provides a whole new dimension into diabetic foot therapeutic aid. It is a well known act that in fetuses' wounds heals so fast that no scar is visible at birth. Employing the same principle, it is quite possible that when embryonic stem cells are transplanted into diabetic ulcers, they activate a foetal program in the host to allow those adult ulcers to repair as efficiently as foetal wounds do.
Trials to confirm whether a diabetic patient's own peripheral blood can be used to induce the growth of new blood vessels in their damaged tissue are also ongoing in which autologous adult stem cells are used.
Further stem cell studies in diabetic foot with wounds along with no presence of pain or tingling have shown overall improvement of 90 percent. It was also concluded that stem cell therapy is extremely helpful for preventing leg from amputation.
In India stem cell therapy treatment design for diabetic foot has been formally approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in June 2009. Stem cell treatments to date have focused on rare and otherwise incurable conditions. Recent studies on diabetic foot marks an important step in verifying the applicability of stem cell therapies to more commonly occurring, serious pathologies.
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