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Diabetes Channel
Reported January 13, 2012

Stem Cell Therapy Reverses Diabetes

(Ivanhoe Newswire)- Type 1 diabetes is caused by the body's own immune system attacking its pancreatic islet beta cells and requires daily injections of insulin to regulate the patient's blood glucose levels.

A new method found in the BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Medicine uses stem cells from cord blood to reeducate the T cells in a diabetic's blood to restart the pancreatic function and reduce the need for insulin. In Stem Cell Educator therapy, lymphocytes were separated from a patient's blood over immobilized donated cord blood stem cells. After two or three hours in the device the revamped lymphocytes are returned to the patient. Progress was checked at 4, 12, 24 and 40 weeks after therapy.

After 12 weeks results showed an increase in C-peptide levels. C-peptide is a protein fragment created from insulin that can be used to determine how well beta cells are working. Levels increased at 24 weeks and remained the same at the end of the study, meaning that the patient's daily dose of insulin could be reduced. Also results showed that the glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) indicator of long term glucose control also dropped for people receiving the treatment.

Dr Yong Zhao, from University of Illinois at Chicago, was quoted as saying, "We also saw an improved autoimmune control in these patients. Stem Cell Educator therapy increased the percentage of regulatory T lymphocytes in the blood of people in the treatment group. Other markers of immune function, such as TGF-beta1 also improved. Our results suggest that it is this improvement in autoimmune control, mediated by the autoimmune regulator AIRE in the CBSC, which allows the pancreatic islet beta cells to recover."

Source: BMC Medicine, January 2012


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