Lower limb ischaemia results from narrowing of the arteries in the leg and causes persistently recurring rest pain, ulceration and in the most severe cases gangrene of the foot. Currently little can be done to open or regenerate the blood vessels that have deteriorated to this extent. In August 10 The Lancet, Eriko Tateishi-Yuyama and colleagues at the Kansai Medical University, Osaka, Japan, show that autologous implantation of bone marrow mononuclear cells could be an effective method of therapeutic angiogenesis, by harnessing the ability of marrow cells to supply endothelial progenitor cells (Lancet 2002, 360:427-435).

Following up a pilot study on 25 patients with unilateral leg ischaemia, Tateishi-Yuyama et al. performed a randomized double blind study on a further 22 patients with bilateral leg ischaemia. These patients were randomly injected with bone marrow mononuclear cells in one leg and peripheral blood-mononuclear cells or saline in...

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