Apr 14, 2009 | 11
Patients recently diagnosed with type 1diabetes who received transplants of their own immune stem cells were able to go without insulin injections for nearly five years after the procedure, scientists report today.
In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks islet cells in the pancreas that the body depends on to make insulin, a hormone that converts glucose into energy. Treatment typically includes injections or infusions of insulin. Now, research in the new Journal of the American Medical Association shows that the transplant technique — autologous nonmyeloablative hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, in which a patient is infused with immune system stem cells from his or her own blood — enabled 20 of 23 recipients to thrive without insulin injections for up to 58 months. Twelve were able to stay off insulin continuously, while the rest had to periodically receive treatment.
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