Navigation Links
Novel Stem Cell Treatment May Hold Promise for Type 1 Diabetes

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A new type of stem cell treatment for people with type 1 diabetes appears to help re-educate rogue immune system cells, which allows cells in the pancreas to start producing insulin again.

The treatment, which combines a patient's immune system cells with stem cells from a donor's cord blood, even worked in people with long-standing diabetes who were believed to have no insulin-producing ability.

Although the treatment didn't wean anyone off insulin completely, average blood sugar levels dropped significantly, which would reduce the risk of long-term complications.

"Our study brings a new hope for people with type 1 diabetes. If we can control the autoimmunity, we may reverse the diabetes. We showed that the islets [cells] can start to work again," said Dr. Yong Zhao, an assistant professor in the section of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

This treatment could potentially be useful in other autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

"It's quite remarkable that this approach, based on the re-education of immune cells, might work so well. The concept is very intriguing, and the treatment seems to be so simple and so safe," said Dr. Luca Inverardi, deputy director of translational research at the Diabetes Research Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine.

But he's also "reasonably cautious," he said. "The follow-up is long, up to 40 weeks, but it's not long enough to declare victory against diabetes yet," said Inverardi.

Also, he noted that the study involved only 15 Chinese people, and that type 1 diabetes is a bit different in that population. He said he'd like to see larger studies with a more diverse population, followed for a longer time.

Results of the study were published online Jan. 9 in the journal BMC Medicine.

Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease, occurs when the body's immune system cells mistakenly attack the insulin-producing (beta) cells in the pancreas. Because their beta cells don't produce enough or any insulin, people with type 1 diabetes have to replace the lost insulin through injections to survive.

Stopping that autoimmune attack appears to be crucial to any treatment that hopes to cure or reverse type 1 diabetes.

Zhao's team developed a completely new approach. They take blood from a patient and separate out the immune system cells (lymphocytes). They briefly expose those cells to stem cells from umbilical cord blood from an unrelated infant and return the lymphocytes alone to the patient's body. The researchers have dubbed this "Stem Cell Educator Therapy," because while exposed to the stem cells, the lymphocytes seem to relearn how they should behave.

The study participants, who were 15 to 41 years old, had had type 1 diabetes for an average of nine years. Six had some residual beta cell function and six did not. Both groups were given stem cell educator therapy. The other three people served as the control group.

The researchers measured C-peptide, a protein fragment that's a byproduct of insulin production, and found that the educator therapy group had improved levels of C-peptide at 12 weeks. These levels continued to improve until 24 weeks, and remained stable through the follow-up at 40 weeks. There were no changes in C-peptide in the control group.

The average daily dose of insulin dropped almost 39 percent after 12 weeks for the group with some beta cell function and 25 percent in those with no beta cell function, suggesting that the group with no beta cell function now produced insulin.

"That means if you stop the autoimmune reaction, you may see beta cell regeneration, or there might be other precursor cells in the pancreas. If these data are confirmed, this is a very provocative and remarkable finding," Inverardi said.

The average hemoglobin A1C level dropped 1.06 percent for those with residual beta cell function and 1.68 percent for those without beta cell function. A1C levels measure average blood sugar levels over two to three months, and people with type 1 diabetes are advised to maintain A1C levels below 7 percent. A drop of 1 percent in A1C levels can reduce the risk of complications.

This was an initial clinical trial designed to test for safety. Zhao said that in future trials he hopes that with additional treatments people might get off insulin altogether.

But, even if that's not possible, the recovery of some beta cell function would be welcome news. "In the absence of complete remission, there are very sizable advantages to having some beta cell function," Inverardi noted.

Both experts said the treatment appears safe, with no risk of rejection. No significant side effects were reported during the trial, other than some arm soreness where blood was taken and returned.

More information

Learn more about type 1 diabetes from the Nemours Foundation's KidsHealth Web site.

SOURCES: Yong Zhao, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, section of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism, department of medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago; Luca Inverardi, M.D., deputy director of translational research at the Diabetes Research Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine, and research professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Jan. 9, 2012, BMC Medicine online

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. KalVista and JDRF form research partnership for novel treatment of diabetic eye disease
2. Novel brain tumor vaccine acts like bloodhound to locate cancer cells
3. Novel Hepatitis C Vaccine Shows Some Early Promise
4. BUSM researchers identify novel compound to halt virus replication
5. Novel technique could help boost IVF success and reduce multiple pregnancies
6. Novel export-inhibitor shows promise for treating CLL
7. Novel experimental agent is highly active in CLL patients, interim study shows
8. Researchers identify a novel therapeutic approach for liver cancer
9. Novel drug wipes out deadliest malaria parasite through starvation
10. Novel approach to treating breast cancer shows great promise
11. Wayne State receives $1.9 million from NIH to create novel cystic fibrosis treatments
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Novel Stem Cell Treatment May Hold Promise for Type 1 Diabetes
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... Indosoft Inc., developer and distributor of the world-class ... (Long Term Support) into its Q-Suite 5.10 product line. , Making the change ... version of Asterisk that will receive not only security fixes, but feature and ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... eReferral system for diagnostic imaging in the Waterloo region. Using the Ocean Platform, ... Medicine tests directly from their electronic medical record (EMR) without the need for ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... , ... Jobs in hospital medical laboratories and in the imaging field lead ... Aureus Medical Group . These fields, as well as travel nursing, ... healthcare jobs through the company’s website, , The leading healthcare staffing ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... 26, 2015 , ... Pixel Film Studios brings Final Cut ... Vintage. This newly styled ProTrailer pack comes with 30 all-new vintage-inspired designs, with ... users limitless opportunities to stylize and create designs quickly and easily, all within ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Additional breast ... found on mammography, according to a study published online in the journal Radiology. ... on mammography may necessitate a change in treatment. , Breast MRI is the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... the addition of the "Radioimmunoassay Market ... User (Hospital, Pharmaceutical Industry, Academics, Clinical Diagnostic ... - Global Forecast to 2020" report ... ) has announced the addition of the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 ... addition of the "Global Brain Monitoring ... offering. --> ) has ... Brain Monitoring Devices Market 2015-2019" report ... and Markets ( ) has announced ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) today announced ... the United States (U.S.) Food ... candidate to Humira ® (adalimumab). Amgen believes this ... the FDA and represents Amgen,s first BLA submission using ... , M.D., executive vice president of Research and Development ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: