Diabetes treatment of the future: stem cells?
Add diabetes to the list of diseases potentially treatable by stem cell transplantation. A small group of patients were evidently cured of their recently-diagnosed Type 1 diabetes according to a new clinical trial published in the journal JAMA this week. These are not the embryonic stem cells that have people up in arms but rather the patients' own marrow-derived hematopoeitic stem cells collected in the same way as they do with cancer stem cell transplants. Though in the diabetes study the goal was to manipulate the immune system and not actually cure cancer one has to wonder what we are actually doing with these transplants and whether the mechanism of autoimmune diabetes is similar to that of hematological malignancy like leukemia. JAMA actually ran a smaller study of this same research about two years ago; I usually tell my patients that the sign of a good clinical idea is that it stays around a few years. The concept of transplants for diabetes has "legs " and would seem to be a real thing but hopefully could be replicated by other groups. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7999760.stm Also http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/301/15/1573