IU Health seeking PAD patients for trial

IU Health seeking PAD patients for trial
Gary Henton
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There's a new option for central Indiana patients who experience pain when they walk. A new clinical trial at IU Health is getting underway to test whether the patient's own stem cells will help stop the pain of peripheral arterial disease.

Gary Henton, 72, wants to stay active, but simple steps hurt. He hopes a new clinical trial at Indiana University will provide relief to the pain in his leg.

"I certainly don't like the way that I am living right now because I can't do little maintenance jobs around the house. I can't walk on the golf course," he said.

Before now, options for patients like Henton were to wait until the severity increased, then have bypass surgery or angioplasty. Both options are invasive and overtime can deteriorate. But the PACE trial tries something new by using a patient's own cells to heal.

"The potential is huge. There are a variety of cells in the body that have different functions. Some of them can grow blood; some of them can grow blood vessels. In this case we think the cells will be the kind of cells that can help the blood vessel to grow and the leg to survive better without pain," said Dr. Keith March, IU Health co-primary investigator.

To see if he qualifies for the trial, Henton walks on a treadmill until the pain is so severe he has to stop.

"I am not out of breath or anything. It's just I don't get any flow to the legs," he said. "They cramp up and if you have ever participated in sports and have a leg cramp that is exactly the way that it feels. You can't move them anymore."

Once enrolled in the trial, Henton's cells are harvested.

"The procedure went very well," said Dr. Mike Murphy, IU Health co-primary investigator. The stem cells will be sent to Durham, North Carolina where they will be separated and returned. It's days later that the select cells are injected back into Henton's leg. Dr. Murphy says it's the first time the procedure has been used in the United States and it also marks a first for Indiana.

As for Henton, he says the injections don't hurt. "They are a piece of cake," he said.

"I am expecting that within four weeks we will see some improvement," said Dr. Murphy.

In time, Henton's time on the treadmill will be measured again. It's hoped he will walk without pain and get back on the links.

"I'm very hopeful that this will take care of the the one leg," he said.

This trial is for people 40 and older and treatment for trial participants is free of charge. If you would like to learn more about the PACE trial for PAD, call 855-333-3260.