London: A new research has shown a protein, which controls the growth of new blood vessels, could potentially reduce the effects of cardiovascular disease in patients' legs, including risks of leg ulcers, gangrene, and amputation.
The new research, involving scientists from the University of Nottingham in Britain and Boston University in the US, has been published in the latest issue of a leading academic journal Nature Medicine, Xinhua reported.
The study centered on the role signal protein vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays in peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which is one of the most common causes of leg amputation.
The femoral artery becomes blocked by a build-up of fatty deposits leading to ischemia, or loss of blood flow. In the most serious cases, leg tissue begins to die because of gangrene, and the lower leg may need to be removed.
The study found that patients with this disease did not produce the correct form of VEGF needed to stimulate new blood vessel growth in their leg, placing them at greater risk of losing the affected limb.
According to experts, this research has revealed a possible new target for treating people with PAD, which could potentially be manipulated to help improve blood supply to an oxygen-starved limb, lowering the chances of amputation for people with this condition.
The antibody could be used to treat patients with PAD over the course of several months until new blood vessels in their legs have been restored.
The study also showed that administering an antibody of the wrong type of VEGF to obese and diabetic mice reduces the effects of cardiovascular disease. Researchers are now set to develop a similar antibody for use in humans.