Chicago - Type 1 diabetic patients could be bailed out with stem cell therapy, according to a recent finding.
Stem cell therapy proved helpful for patients suffering Type-1 diabetes, in that they could give up the insulin treatment for months and in one particular case a patient went treatment free for years. Out of the 15 patients who participated in the testing, 13 completely stayed-off insulin injections.
"This is the first therapy for type I diabetes to result in drug-free treatment," said Richard Burt, chief of immunotherapy at North-western University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and one of the senior authors of the research report.
Type 1 diabetes, a notorious disease, could be the cause of serious health complications like blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and stroke. Statistics show that in most patients, at the time of diagnosis, almost 60 to 80% of the beta cells have been destroyed. This research stresses the need for timely intervention which would make it possible to reformat the immune system, allowing the beta cells to rejuvenate.
During the study, researchers began by collecting stem cells from volunteers. The patients were subjected to chemotherapy to completely annihilate their own immune systems and were given transfusions from their own stem cells, giving the body a chance to restore the immune system.
The study revealed that 93% of patients who underwent this treatment could be off insulin for some time. Eleven patients, who were given supplemental insulin after the treatment, did not require synthetic insulin since that time. Detailed studies will be required to assess the safety and effectiveness of stem cell therapy for diabetics.