Adult Stem Cell Research Helps Children With Type 1 Diabetes

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 26, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Adult Stem Cell Research Helps Children With Type 1 Diabetes Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 26
, 2007

Chicago, IL ( — Another study has been published showing that adult stem cell research has just as much potential, if not more, than embryonic stem cells to help patients with various diseases. In this cases, researchers at University of Florida founds that stem cells from umbilical cord blood helped children newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

The study found that stem cell transfusions using the adult stem cells helped the children reduce their disease severity, possibly re-setting the immune system and slowing the destruction of their insulin-producing cells.

Michael J. Haller, MD, a professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine and lead author of the study, presented the findings at the American Diabetes Association’s 67th Annual Scientific Sessions.

"After only six months, it is too early to tell how long the children will benefit from this therapy, but early signs indicate that it may have helped enhance blood glucose control and management," Dr. Haller said in a statement.

"But more important than the potential benefit in these children, this first use of cord blood in diabetes will help us focus on what it is in the cord blood that yielded the benefit," he said. "We then hope to isolate and grow that cell type to develop therapies for a larger pool of people, not just those who have stored cord blood."

The researchers recruited seven young (age 2 to 7 years at the time of infusion) children with type 1 diabetes who had their own stored cord blood and infused them with it.

This group was matched with 13 randomly selected youngsters of similar age and diabetes duration who had been intensively treated with insulin and served as a control group.

Nearly 21 million Americans have diabetes, a group of serious diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin.

Diabetes can lead to severely debilitating or fatal complications, such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, and amputations. It is the fifth leading cause of death by disease in the U.S.