• Science Saturday: Stem cell research to improve hemodialysis

a Black woman wearing protective eye goggles and a face mask in a Mayo Clinic clinical hemodialysis technician program working with testing bags

Stem cell therapy after angioplasty helps keep arteriovenous fistula blood vessels open, Mayo Clinic discovered in animal studies. An arteriovenous fistula is a passageway between an artery and a vein. This research, supported in part by the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine, provides a foundation on which someday patients with end stage renal disease, who require hemodialysis and whose vessels narrow and eventually fail over time, could be helped. The Center for Regenerative Medicine is committed to turning promising laboratory discoveries into proven treatments and making them available to patients.

Angioplasty — a procedure in which a thin tube attached to a balloon is threaded through vessels — is the first line of treatment to clear blockage for dialysis patients with stenotic arteriovenous fistulas, but may only be a temporary solution. Research by Sanjay Misra, M.D., published in the Journal of American Society of Nephrology, finds that mesenchymal stem cells derived from adipose (fat) tissue could prolong the therapeutic effects of angioplasty.

"The best vascular access for hemodialysis patients is an arteriovenous fistula created by connecting the artery to the vein. Unfortunately, this type of fistula will eventually fail due to narrowing of the blood vessels that occurs over time," says Dr. Misra. "Our peer-reviewed study shows that stem cells delivered to the outside of the vessel wall after angioplasty can help keep the vessel open longer."

Read the rest of the article on the Center for Regenerative Medicine blog.


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