Arterial Limb Disease Fact Sheet

CIRM funds projects seeking to better understand arterial limb disease and to translate those discoveries into new therapies.


Peripheral limb ischemia, most often characterized as hardening of the arteries in the legs, may be present in as much as 20 percent of the population. But in a small fraction, around two million Americans, it has progressed to the point that it causes pain even when resting and threatens to result in amputation due to wounds that refuse to heal because of poor blood circulation. This condition is called Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI), and patients diagnosed with CLI are at risk for limb amputations (10 to 40%) and even death (50% within 5 years)1.

Physicians can often treat CLI with various forms of minimally invasive surgery. They thread a catheter into the artery or vein and use a balloon or stent to push the blockage back against the vessel wall or a laser to vaporize the plaque. But many CLI patients have disease that is too extensive for these procedures to be fully effective, so for the past few years many researchers have searched for ways to coax the patients’ bodies into growing new blood vessels through a process called angiogenesis. More recently researchers have started to investigate the possibility that stem cells could help with this new vessel growth.

CIRM Grants Targeting Vascular disease

Researcher name Institution Grant Title Grant Type Award Amount
Alyssa Panitch University of California, Davis Development of treatments to improve healing of ischemic wounds Inception - Discovery Stage Research Projects $235,099
Ngan Huang Palo Alto Veterans Institute for Research iPSC-Derived Smooth Muscle Progenitors for Treatment of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Inception - Discovery Stage Research Projects $172,621
Elizabeth Crouch University of California, San Francisco Harnessing vascular stem cells to grow and protect the human brain Foundation - Discovery Stage Research Projects $1,391,998
John Cooke Stanford University EC regeneration in cerebrovascular ischemia: role of NO SEED Grant $476,995
Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte Salk Institute for Biological Studies Direct reprogramming towards vascular progenitors for the treatment of ischemia Early Translational III $2,340,000
John Laird University of California, Davis Phase I study of IM Injection of VEGF-Producing MSC for the Treatment of Critical Limb Ischemia Disease Team Therapy Development - Research $3,728,384
Kara McCloskey University of California, Merced Directed Differentiation of Specialized Endothelial Cells Basic Biology V $475,686
Laura Marcu University of California, Davis Multimodal platform combining optical and ultrasonic technologies for in vivo nondestructive evaluation of engineered vascular tissue constructs Tools and Technologies III $1,834,350
Deepak Srivastava Gladstone Institutes, J. David Use of Human iPSC-derived Endothelial Cells for Calcific Aortic Valve Disease Therapeutics Quest - Discovery Stage Research Projects $2,400,048
Michael Lewis Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Treated with Cardiosphere-Derived Allogeneic Stem Cells Clinical Trial Stage Projects $7,354,772
Karen Christman University of California, San Diego Injectable pro-regenerative scaffold for treating symptomatic peripheral artery disease Therapeutic Translational Research Projects $2,839,317


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