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Growing new blood vessels

Project summary

Critical limb ischaemia is a serious condition where blood vessels in the legs become clogged up and can’t deliver oxygen and nutrients to leg muscles. The body reacts to this by building smaller blood vessels to bypass the clot, but this process doesn’t work well in people with diabetes.

A PhD student in Professor Emanueli’s lab will investigate why people with diabetes can’t efficiently build new blood vessels. This research will help scientists to develop new treatments to combat this condition in people with diabetes in the future.

Background to research

Critical limb ischaemia is a serious condition of the legs. Blood vessels delivering nutrients and oxygen to leg muscles become clogged up, so the muscles starve. This leads to pain and, over time, ulcers or gangrene may develop. Normally, our bodies try to bypass the clogged up vessel by building smaller vessels around. However, this process doesn’t work well in people with diabetes.

Currently we’re not able to cure this condition with drugs, so it’s commonly treated with surgery or amputation. A recently discovered chemical tag, called m6A, which can attach to different molecules inside cells, might play a role in preventing the growth of new blood vessels.

Scientists think that presence of large quantities of the tag might be linked to poor growth of small blood vessels in people with diabetes. But it’s only a theory and hasn’t yet been tested in the lab.

Research aims

The aim of this project to understand why people in diabetes can’t build new vessels to overcome critical limb ischaemia. A PhD student working with Professor Emanueli will find out if the amount of m6A tag is the same in people with and without diabetes, and if it plays a role in the body’s ability to grow new blood vessels. They’ll also study whether changing the levels of m6A tag could be used as a new treatment strategy for critical limb ischaemia.

Potential benefit to people with diabetes

At Diabetes UK we are fighting for a world where diabetes can do no harm, and this includes finding new ways to treat and prevent complications.

This project will help us to understand the underlying biology behind critical limb ischaemia, and hopefully inform the development of new treatments to help people with diabetes manage this condition in the future.

Project adopted by:
Diabetes UK local group: Chelmsford and District
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