From ScienceDaily: "Blood vessel blockage, a common condition in old age or diabetes, leads to low blood flow and results in low oxygen, which can kill cells and tissues. Such blockages can require amputation resulting in loss of limbs. Now, using mice as their model, researchers [have] developed therapies that increase blood flow, improve movement and decrease tissue death and the need for amputation. ... In a young, healthy individual, hypoxia - low oxygen levels - triggers the body to make factors that help coordinate the growth of new blood vessels but this process doesn't work as well as we age. Now, with the help of gene therapy and stem cells we can help reactivate the body's response to hypoxia and save limbs. ... Our results are promising because they show that a combination of gene and cell therapy can improve the outcome in the case of critical limb ischemia associated with aging or diabetes. And that's critical for bringing such treatment to the clinic."