Stem cell research has been discussed in both the political and popular arenas lately. Some types of stem cell research are controversial; however, not all stem cell research involves harvesting cells from an embryo or an aborted fetus. Another type of stem cell, the adult stem cell, resides within tissues and organs of the body and is responsible for repair after injury. Recent interest has focused on using adult stem cells isolated from a patient's bone marrow to stimulate the development of new blood vessels (a process called angiogenesis) in patients with peripheral vascular disease. These specialized stem cells are referred to as endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). In laboratory and clinical studies it has been shown that these EPCs are involved in arterial repair and remodeling, as well as angiogenesis. The following case presentation will show how a patient with an ischemic toe ulcer and rest pain, who had no options for conventional revascularization, benefited from the injection of stem cells into her calf muscle. The process of angiogenesis using EPCs will be examined discussing the screening criteria and possible adverse events. The patient's history and progress throughout the recovery period will be reviewed.
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