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Chiba Univ. researchers develop method of curing hardened arteries.

OSAKA, June 11 Kyodo

A team of medical researchers have developed a technique for alleviating the symptoms of extreme hardening of the leg arteries by giving patients injections of peripheral mononuclear blood cells collected from the patients' arm veins, a Chiba University professor said Saturday.

The technique is effective in lessening the symptoms of excessive hardening of the arteries, known as arteriosclerosis obliterans, under which blood currents in patients' arteries are obstructed or even blocked, professor Issei Komuro said.

The university's Medical Faculty will apply the new technique to patients on a full-fledged scale from July, he said.

Japan has several hundred thousand patients with arteriosclerosis obliterans, and serious cases can require the amputation of patients' legs.

The new technique involves extracting mononuclear cells from the blood of patients' arm veins and injecting them into their legs' muscles, Komuro said.

Such mononuclear cells could have the effect of rejuvenating arteries and securing the smooth flow of blood, he said.

The team led by Komuro has applied the new technique to several dozen patients since 2002 on a clinical test basis.

The team has confirmed that 80 percent of patients with severe cases of arteriosclerosis obliterans who would otherwise have had to have their legs amputated were spared such operations.

Conventional techniques for collecting such mononuclear cells for curative purposes require draining one liter of blood directly from a patient's lumbar bone marrow by inserting a needle while the patient is under a general anesthetic.

But the new technique ''frees doctors from the need to anesthetize patients, so we would like to help this technique spread to other medical institutions,'' Komuro said.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:Jun 13, 2005
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