Stem cell transplant as a possible cure for type 1 diabetes has been under investigation for a few years. I try to follow the evolution of these treatments closely, and just today I read a story that made my day.

A study by scientists from the universities of Chicago and Brazil has shown that auto-transplant of stem cells freed 20 of the 23 patients enrolled in the study from having to inject insulin.

These scientists showed that stem cell transplants from the bone marrow of the patient (auto-transplant) can help to keep blood sugar levels controlled for years in people with type 1 diabetes without using insulin (according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association).

The study was carried out in Brazil from 2004 to 2008, involving 23 people with type 1 diabetes, aged between 13 and 31 years old. 20 participants are still without insulin or immunosuppressive treatments or any other type of medication.

The study consisted of extracting stem cells from the patient’s blood and then freezing them. Then the participants were medicated to decrease the incorrect responses of their immune systems (which attacks its own pancreatic cells). Later they were injected with stem cells. Best of all is that they were not embryonic stem cells, but adult stem cells from the patient themselves.

Although the study was small in size, the results are very encouraging for a possible scientific cure or for more effective treatments of people with type 1 diabetes.

The pros in my opinion were that this was achieved with adult stem cells from the patient, and the 87 percent resounding success rate of the study.
The con may be that slowing down or stopping the immunosuppressive activity leaves the body defenseless against other diseases. I don’t know how far they removed or just slowed down the immune activity, but in any case, great news for everyone.

Here a video about it:

 

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1 Comment on New Developments in Stem Cell Self Transplant: Hope for people with Type 1 Diabetes

  1. […] I prefer to be cautious, because I know of other cases that had already achieved something similar but in humans in 2008 and I haven’t hear anything […]