No insulin for FOUR years for Type 1 diabetics-stem cell advancement!


CHICAGO, April 14 (Reuters) - People with type 1 diabetes who got stem cell transplants were able to go as long as four years without needing insulin treatments, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

They said the process, which involves injecting people with stem cells made from their bone marrow cells, appears to have a lasting effect.

The study involved patients with Type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile diabetes, which occurs when the immune system goes haywire and starts attacking itself, destroying insulin-producing cells in the pancreas needed to control blood sugar.

These patients typically need daily insulin therapy to control their diabetes.

Dr. Richard Burt of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and colleagues first reported on the short-term success of the procedure, known as autologous non-myeloablative hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation, in 2007 but have since looked at how long it persisted.

Writing in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association they said 20 of 23 patients "became insulin free -- 12 continuously and eight transiently -- for periods as long as four years." The transient group of eight had to restart insulin at reduced levels.

The patients ranged in age from 13 to 31.

To find out if the change was lasting the research team said they measured levels of C-peptides, which show how well the body is producing insulin. They found those levels increased "up to 24 months after transplantation and were maintained until at least 36 months," their report said.

Even in the group which had to restart insulin there was still a significant increase in C-peptide levels that lasted at least two years, the researchers said.

They said the procedure was able to induce "prolonged and significant increases of C-peptide levels" in the small group of patients who were taking little or no insulin.

"At the present time (it) remains the only treatment capable of reversing type 1 diabetes mellitus in humans," the team wrote.

"Randomized controlled trials and further biological studies are necessary to confirm the role of this treatment in changing the natural history of (the disease)," they added.

I also wonder when this will be available to the Type 1 public?

Also, when the 4 years is "up" then what?  Do you get another implant of stem cells or have to go back to insulin for good?

It's so exciting to think about-I hope they keep advancing at a fast pace!

That sounds amazing!

sign me up!

that would be awesome!

Wonder if it would work from banking your children's stem cells?  This is awesome news!

But they said it only works for people who were newly diagnost and pancreases are still slightly functioning........?

As long as your C-peptide value is still reasonably high (I just had mine tested 3 years post diagnosis, and it is still pretty good), this would presumably work as well as these patients' procedures did.

Here is the actual article in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association):

Good find, Shannon!

This is another reason why we all need to encourage the NIH to allow federal funding for all types of stem cells.

Here was my letter:

As a college student with type 1 diabetes and also interested in medicine, it's important to me that opportunities are available for those who want to conduct stem cell research.  Stem cells are currently the most promising means to turn my pancreas from a dead mass of cells into a insulin-producing and health promoting organ.  However, just because I have a disease that could potentially be cured by experimentation with stem cells does not mean I should support their procurement without regard to ethics.

The April 23, 2009 Federal Register Notice that introduces the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) draft guidelines is responsible science.  The ethics of using stem cells for science is something that needs to be carefully considered and the NIH guidelines do precisely this.  According to this draft, stem cells will be ethically obtained and used only for worthy purposes as ensured by the NIH.

I fully support the guidelines as they stand now.  If these sources (excess IVF embryos) do not fully provide scientists the potential to learn more about stem cells, then other sources should be considered as well.  I understand that scientists are currently doing research on existing stem cell lines, and I believe these should be grandfathered into the umbrella of federally funded experimentation as long as they were ethically obtained.  This way, the NIH will be able to fund and ensure ethical practice of these experiments as well.

As a supporter of the aforementioned NIH draft, I would also like to let you know that I am a supporter of the sanctity human life.  The NIH guidelines treat stem cells like the cherished human biology they are, by obtaining them from ethical sources like excess embryos obtained from IVF procedures and also ensuring they are used only for scientifically worthy purposes.  This way scientists will be able to work on curing serious diseases like my type 1 diabetes - which puts me at risk for deadly complications such as kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke - in an ethical way.  Following these these ethical standards, I believe that human life will actually be further revered since those with diseases like mine will now have the potential to be given longer and healthier lives.

Thank you for reviewing my comments and opinions.



If you're as passionate about this as I am, go here ( and send your comments in too.

i wouldnt mind if i had to go back to pumping up on insulin after four years. it would be nice just to have a break for a while. extremly nice.

60% of the participants are still [injectable] insulin-free.