Algae could forestall limb amputation

Researchers develop new algae-based treatment which could reduce the need of leg amputation in people with severely limited blood flow


Source: British Heart Foundation



A new algae-based treatment could reduce the need for amputation in people with critical limb ischemia, according to new research.


  • Researchers at St Thomas' Hospital and King's College London have made small capsules from brown algae which hold macrophages, a type of white blood cell.

  • Tests in mice have shown that these algae capsules may be able to increase blood flow in the limbs where tissue has been damaged.

  • The researchers now hope to progress this research into human clinical trials to help the people visiting hospital with critical limb ischaemia (CLI). It is estimated that there are up to 60,000 new cases of CLI per year in the UK.

Scientists have been experimenting with cells as a treatment to grow arteries in the leg for years, however, these treatments have not been effective in humans
  • A big challenge is that many of the cells injected into the injured area die, move away to surrounding areas, or are detected as 'foreign' by the immune system and rejected.


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