Dr. Porfirio Hernandez, the Deputy Director of Researchers at the Hematology and Immunology Institute in Cuba, and the main author of a publication entitled, “Autotransplant of Adult Stem Cells in Lower Limb with Critical Ischemia”, has now been awarded with the Dionisio Daza y Chacon prize, granted by the Spanish Magazine of Surgical Research for the best Spanish medical publication of 2007.
After years of conducting laboratory research with animals, Dr. Hernandez and his colleagues began their first adult stem cell clinical trials in 2002, at which time they began using autolgous (in which the donor and the recipient are the same person) stem cell therapy to treat patients who were suffering with peripheral artery disease in their lower limbs.
Similar to the ischemic cardiopathy that is caused by atherosclerosis, and to the cerebrovascular disease that increases the risk of stroke, critical limb ischemia affects the arteries of the lower limbs. Previously, the only form of treatment for the most advanced cases is amputation. Now, however, physicians around the world such as Dr. Hernandez are demonstrating that adult stem cells regenerate ischemic arteries by stimulating angiogenesis in the areas of damaged tissue, thereby restoring proper circulation to the limbs.
Such stem cell techniques are now also being extended to other applications, especially to those maladies that can benefit the most from increased vascularization, such as problems in opthalmology.