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SIR: Drug-Eluting Stents May Help Prevent Amputation

New technique may allow researchers to 'see' delivery of stem cells to diseased blood vessels

TUESDAY, Mar. 10 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with critical limb ischemia resulting from peripheral arterial disease, the use of drug-eluting stents may help prevent amputations. In addition, new research suggests how stem cells could be used in peripheral arterial disease to create new or additional blood vessels, according to two studies presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology's annual meeting held Mar. 7 to 12 in San Diego.

In one study, Dimitris Karnabatidis, M.D., of Patras University Hospital in Rion, Greece, and colleagues studied 103 patients who were randomly assigned to receive either drug-eluting or bare-metal stents. After up to three years, they found that drug-eluting stents were associated with significantly increased primary patency (hazard ratio, 4.81), and reduced binary restenosis and fewer clinically-driven re-intervention events (hazard ratios, 0.38 and 0.39, respectively) compared to bare-metal stents.

In a second study, Frank Wacker, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues enclosed stem cells in an alginate capsule or "bubble" and induced them to produce luciferase, a bioluminescence imaging agent produced by fireflies, so the cells could be seen using simple imaging techniques in an animal model of peripheral arterial disease.

"The use of C-arm CT for image-guided delivery in the angio lab enabled us to precisely target cell delivery in relationship to blood vessels without transferring to a separate CT scanner to obtain the similar information," Wacker said in a statement.

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