Stem Cells and Type 1 Diabetes: I’ve been asked more than once if there was anything that stem cells could do to cure or help fight Type 1 diabetes. Actually, until recently there really wasn’t much progress in that area.
Recently, in an experimental study, 28 teens with type 1 diabetes underwent a stem cell procedure (using their own stem cells) hoping that it could allow them to stay off their insulin injections.
The results of this (small) study? Fifteen of the 28 teens were able to stay off of insulin injections for an average of a year and a half; one of these teens with type 1 diabetes has actually gone without insulin injections for three and a half years.
How does the stem cell treatment work to fight type 1 diabetes? Known as a “cocktail” treatment, stem cell therapy in this case is combined with drugs for a double barrel attack on type 1 diabetes. Because type 1 diabetes generally attacks the immune system, (pancreatic insulin producing cells) the drugs used in this procedure function to suppress the immune system so that the stem cell therapy component can be more affective.
The stem cells used are harvested from the patient prior to treatment, frozen, and then reintroduced during treatment. These “immature” stem cells haven’t learned bad behavior yet, and replace the destructive cells that previously were attacking the patients insulin producing cells.
Although researchers are in the early stages, this treatment shows a lot of promise for the treatment of type 1 diabetes in children.
The findings of this study (including side effect, diet, & weight info) were introduced to the American Diabetes Association, and will appear in July’s issue of the Diabetes Care journal.
Diabetic diet / weight loss information: Coupons for weight watchers and medifast can be found online