Image of microscopic blood cells in artery

New diabetes treatment could end amputations

14 March 2018

Thousands of diabetics in Wales could avoid having limbs amputated following pioneering new treatments.

A grant of £7million will fund cell and gene therapy at centres in Cardiff and Swansea.

NHS Wales said it will give patients quicker access to treatments and trials.

But some people with the condition living in north Wales are concerned they will miss out.

More than 2,000 patients are at risk from amputation every year in Wales. This is because diabetes causes ulcers to develop on lower legs, which do not heal.

Paul Coker, from the organisation 1BloodyDrop, welcomed the news, and said: “To show such promise on our own doorstep is amazing.

“Sadly, I know people that do have complications, so I’m really excited that it’s here and whatever comes out will be able to help people I know, and that I could benefit from the amazing work that will happen on on my doorstep.”

Catherine O’Brien, from the Welsh Blood Service, said the new treatments “don’t just treat symptoms, they can be curative and in terms of life expectancy and quality of life, they’ve got tremendous potential for the future”.

But Sean Parker, who has diabetes and lives in Colwyn Bay, Conwy, said: “Most things seem to go to the south, but up here they don’t even have the basics available.

“There’s a big disparity in the funding and services.”

Mr Parker added he would have great difficulty travelling to either Cardiff or Swansea for treatment.

Diabetes UK expects the number of people living with the condition in Wales to increase from 190,000 to 500,000 by 2025.

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