What stem cells can do today opens doorways to even more, tomorrow…
Diabetes refers to a family of diseases where the body is unable to effectively produce or use insulin, the hormone required to convert food into energy. The cause of diabetes is not known, and so far there is no cure. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States today.
According to the American Diabetes Association
, "there are 23.6 million children and adults in the United States, or 7.8% of the population, who have diabetes. While an estimated 17.9 million have been diagnosed with diabetes, unfortunately, 5.7 million people (or nearly one quarter) are unaware that they have the disease."
There are three main types of Diabetes:
- Type 1 - an auto-immune disease
- Type 2 - associated with hereditary and lifestyle risk factors
- Gestational Diabetes - occurring during pregnancy
Type 1 Diabetes is characterized by the body’s inability to produce insulin and therefore necessitates daily injections of insulin. Because it most often develops in children, it is often referred to as "juvenile diabetes." The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
(JDRF) reports that as many as three million Americans may have type 1 diabetes and an average of 40 children each day (more than 15,000 per year) are diagnosed.
There are clinical trials underway to treat diabetes with stem cells in general, as well as with cord blood stem cells specifically.
Diabetes Latest News
Diabetes' Researchers See Hope in Expanded Cord Blood tTregs
Researchers at the University of Florida Health say they have found a way to expand certain preserved cord blood cells that could potentially serve as a long-term treatment for type 1 diabetes. The cells are called thymic regulatory T cells, or tTregs for short. They are a type of white blood cell that helps prevent autoimmune responses, which is when a person’s immune system attacks him- or herself.
Study Says Stem Cells Could Remedy Diabetes in Long Term
A clinical trial conducted in Brazil comprising 21 adult patients with type 1 diabetes shows that a stem cell transplant may remedy the disease, at least for a number of years. Published recently in the journal Frontiers in Immunology
, the results showed that most patients became insulin-free for three and a half years and one patient did not have to use insulin for eight years.
Stem Cells for the Treatment of Type I Diabetes
Stem cell treatments are gaining momentum as a viable option for successfully slowing down or even halting the progression of type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is characterized by the body’s inability to produce insulin. There have been many trials where patients who received stem cells from umbilical cord blood have been able produce their own insulin.
Study at University of Wisconsin Uses a Stem Cell Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes
A study at the UW Hospital and others across the country is testing an experimental treatment for Type 1 diabetes: giving adult stem cells to people recently diagnosed in hopes of stopping the progression of the disease. The cells, infused into patients intravenously, are thought to reduce the inflammation that causes the patients to stop producing insulin.
Eastern Virginia Medical School Studies Stem Cell Treatments for Diabetes
Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) is conducting this double blind study on the effectiveness of a new therapy using adult stem cells to treat type 1 diabetes. In this study, stem cells are harvested from the bone marrow of healthy donors and then infused intravenously into the patient.