According to scientists, it could be possible to treat circulatory problems by using the patient's own fat cells.

Stromat cells can stimulate the growth of new blood vessels to increase oxygen supply to tissues. Stromat cells are found in human fat.

These cells could help people with heart disease and angina.

You can read about this trial in the journal Circulation. The study was carried out at Indiana University Medical School.

Dr Jalees Rehman, team leader said 'A lot of people can grow their own blood vessels and when they haveAC blockages in their arteries, their bodies naturally compensate. People who cannot grow blood vessels are the ones who may benefit from this research. An example would be individuals who have severe chest pains from angina, which is caused by reduced blood flow to the heart.'

According to Rehman, this treatment could help people who are on the verge of having their leg amputated because their circulation is so bad.

Stomal cells are immature fat cells. They can turn into other types of tissue. Fat contains a lot of stromal cells.

They are similar to stem cells in this respect.

The researchers discovered that stromal cells can manufacture chemicals called growth factors. Growth factors stimulate the formation of natural blood cells. This process is known as angiogenesis.

If we can find a way of controlling angiogenesis we would be well on the way of finding new treatments for heart disease and cancer.

Patients with poor circulation have low oxygen levels. It seems, according to the researchers, that stromal cells release more growth factors precisely when oxygen levels are low.

Dr Rehman added 'Instead of treating patients with a single growth factor, you could treat them by strategically placing their own stromal cells which respond to low oxygen and adapt to that need. For instance, if an individual who has impaired blood flow to the heart climbs a flight of stairs every day, his body will sense a need for more oxygen to the heart and the stromal cells would respond by releasing more growth factors.'

This treatment, if successful, would gradually stimulate the production of blood vessels to supply oxygen to the heart or legs.

The fat cells are collected through liposuction. Another added benefit is that the patients would lose weight with this treatment.

Other experts have stressed prevention as the best cure. Taking measures not to become obese would help reduce the risk of having circulation problems.

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