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Stem Cell Therapy: Reversing Diabetes

Type I diabetes is caused by the body's autoimmune system attacking pancreatic islet beta cells, requiring daily insulin injections to regulate blood sugar levels. A new method, published in BMC Medicine, an open access journal of the Biomedical Center, uses umbilical cord blood stem cells to re-educate diabetic patients' own T cells, thereby activating pancreatic function and reducing the need for insulin.

Stem cell educators are slowly spreading treatment to lymphocytes isolated from the blood of patients who have been immobilized by cord blood stem cells (CBSC) from healthy donors. After two or three hours in the device, the lymphocytes were re-educated and returned to the patient. At 4, 12, 24 and 40 weeks after treatment, the patient's progress was checked.

C-peptide is a protein fragment by-product of insulin production, which can be used to determine how well beta cells work. Until 12 weeks after treatment, all patients treated improved C-peptide levels. The situation continued to improve until 24 weeks and continued until the end of the study. This means that it can reduces daily insulin which maintains blood sugar levels. Based on these results, long-term glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C) indicators for glycemic control also decreased with treatment, but not in the control group.

Dr Yong Zhao, from the University of Illinois in Chicago, who led the multicenter study, explained: "We also see improved autoimmune control in these patients. Stem cell re-education therapy increased the percentage of T lymphocytes in the blood of the treated population. Other immunological markers, such as TGF-beta1, also improved. Our results suggest that this is an improvement of autoimmune control mediated by AIRE, an autoimmune regulator in cord blood stem cells, to restore islet beta cells.
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