Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells Treat Diabetes

by The Center for Bioethics and Culture on January 31, 2012

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC

If this pans out, it will be a big WOW! Endocrine Today is reporting that umbilical cord blood stem cells have enabled diabetes patients to reduce insulin intake. From the story:

Umbilical cord blood stem cells have been successful in the treatment of type 1 diabetes, according to a press release from Cord Blood America Inc. The stem cells have been used to re-instruct T cells so that the pancreas will begin producing insulin again, thereby reducing the amount of injected insulin needed. According to the release, the treatment was successful in long-time diabetes patients believed to have no insulin-producing ability.

Results from a phase 1/phase 2, open-label clinical trial published in the January issue of BMC Medicine demonstrated that Stem Cell Educator, an in vivo cord blood stem cell treatment, reversed autoimmunity and promoted the regeneration of islet beta cells in patients with type 1 diabetes. “Successful immune modulation by cord blood stem cells and the resulting clinical improvement in patient status may have important implications for other autoimmune and inflammation-related diseases without the safety and ethical concerns associated with conventional stem cell-based approaches,” the researchers wrote. The study, conducted in China, included 15 patients at a median age of 29 years and a median diabetic history of 8 years.

This is very exciting, but remember, it is a small, preliminary study. Let’s hope this apparent success pans out in further research.

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