To provide a highlight of the current state of cell therapy for the treatment of critical limb ischemia in patients with diabetes.
The global incidence of diabetes is constantly growing with consequent challenges for healthcare systems worldwide. In the UK only, NHS costs attributed to diabetic complications, such as peripheral vascular disease, amputation, blindness, renal failure, and stroke, average £10 billion each year, with cost pressure being estimated to get worse. Although giant leaps forward have been registered in the scope of early diagnosis and optimal glycaemic control, an effective treatment for critical limb ischemia is still lacking. The present review aims to provide an update of the ongoing work in the field of regenerative medicine. Recent advancements but also limitations imposed by diabetes on the potential of the approach are addressed. In particular, the review focuses on the perturbation of non-coding RNA networks in progenitor cells and the possibility of using emerging knowledge on molecular mechanisms to design refined protocols for personalized therapy. The field of cell therapy showed rapid progress but has limitations. Significant advances are foreseen in the upcoming years thanks to a better understanding of molecular bottlenecks associated with the metabolic disorders.