Protein delivery may help treat diabetic limb problems

About 12 million people in the U.S., particularly those with diabetes, experience obstructed arteries in their limbs. This condition, known as critical limb ischemia, leads to reduced blood flow to muscles and blood vessels and the potential for amputation or death.

Guan (left) and Zhang

A collaborative team of researchers at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis has proposed a novel treatment using undercover nanoparticles carrying therapeutic proteins to promote regeneration of blood vessels and muscle specifically in injured limbs.

Jianjun Guan, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, and Fuzhong Zhang, professor of energy, environmental and chemical engineering, will develop and study this new approach in diabetic critical limb ischemia with a four-year $2.3 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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