Researchers led by Dr. Michael Murphy, a vascular surgeon at Indiana University, demonstrated that when circulation-blocked mice were treated with injections of the cells, circulation and functionality were restored.
Currently there are no medical or surgical interventions that are effective for critical limb ischemia, an advanced form of peripheral artery disease.
ERCs are cells taken from menstrual blood that are capable of forming into at least 9 different tissue types, including heart, liver and lung.
Murphy has already performed clinical trials with adult stem cells for patients with peripheral artery disease.
"The advantage of ERCs is that they can be used in an ''off the shelf'' manner, meaning they can be delivered to the point of care, do not require matching, and are easily injectable without the need for complex equipment," he said.
The experiments were performed as a collaboration between University of Western Ontario, Scripps Research Institute, Indiana University, and several other academic centers.
The ERC cell population is currently being developed by the US publicly traded company Medistem Inc, who supported these studies.
The study is published in BioMed Central's open access Journal of Translational Medicine.