Stem Cells May Reverse Type 1 Diabetes

  1. http://www.time.com/time/health/arti...891122,00.html

    The group first reported its initial achievement in 2007, with 15 type 1 diabetes patients who received their own stem cells and no longer needed insulin to control their blood sugar levels. In the new study, a follow-up of their previous work, Voltarelli and his colleagues detailed the same success with an additional eight patients, and also confirmed that in the majority of them, the stem cell transplant led to an appreciable repopulation of functioning insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.
    I'd like to hear what you're opinions are on this particular study, then I'll chime in with mine later.
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    About blondy2061h, MSN, RN

    Joined: Jul '08; Posts: 4,274; Likes: 12,969

    11 Comments

  3. by   rplf29
    nice.. well, this is good news!
  4. by   madwife2002
    Interesting I would like to read the whole study before I comment but at first glance it certainly looks like it is an amazing breakthrough.
  5. by   Jolie
    Two thoughts:

    I am encouraged to see that this involves the use of the patient's own adult stem cells. That eliminates the embryonic controversy as well as the possibility of rejection.

    I was surprised to read the technique used. I assumed that the researchers would attempt to "regenerate" insulin producing pancreatic cells. It was a surprise that the technique involved destroying, then re-establishing the immune system instead. While successful so far, it concerns me that this places future patients at great risk for complications should the bone marrow and immune system fail to re-establish.

    Cancer patients undergoing this type of transplant typically face an immediate threat to their lives and have little choice if they desire a cure or a longer life. While diabetes is certainly an overwhelming, life-altering and life-limiting condition, most patients in good control can live a long and healthy life. I'd hate to see this become a treatment of first choice due to the risk of death if it isn't successful.
  6. by   MsLoriRN
    You know, my wonderful 15 y.o. son has dealt with this lousy disease since the tender age of 3.
    I know it intimately, and it is a real beast. If you haven't lived with it 24/7, you DON'T GET IT. I promise you that. You don't get it anymore than I get what it's like to battle cancer. My Mom has battled it. My Dad is battling it now. I have 2 good friends who are battling it. I empathize with them. But do I really get it? Do I really understand it? No. As a nurse who taught newly dx'd diabetics in the hospital, I thought I knew about "D." Even after 10 years, I now realize that all I understood were the mechanics. I didn't know crap about D. And I respectfully submit, that unless it lives in your body, your kids, your home, you don't either. For those with type 2 diabetes, you don't get type 1, either. Even if you take insulin shots, YOU DON'T GET IT EITHER. Type 1 diabetes is it's own special nightmare. That's the "preamble" to my response to the article about reversing diabetes with stem cells. Here's my response directly to the article:

    As the article clearly states, "THIS IS NOT A CURE." This is good for someone who has had type 1 (used to be termed "Juvenile") diabetes for many years and is suffering severe complications of the disease. They, and ONLY they, will benefit from having normal blood glucose values returen for a period of a year or two. They, and ONLY they, may benefit from being exposed to toxic levels of damaging radiation and losing their immune system and Lord only knows what else in the long-term, in order to save them from what would otherwise be their imminent kidney failure, limb-loss, stroke or blindness. Like most of the other procedures that have "cured" type 1's of their diabetes, the "cure" has been worse than the disease itself, and is, therefore, not acceptable to the vast majority of dear ones who live with this disease every day.

    The research team from NW and Brazil are aware of this, and clearly state it in the article. They also state, correctly, that it is a step...a door that has opened, that they hope will lead to another step, another open door. As do my son and I. Will I excitedly show him the article? I don't think so. There are several procedures out there that have led to insulin-independence for a time, but at a great cost and risk to other areas of health and life, and are thus also unacceptable to the majority of type 1 sufferers.

    There are only 2 places that we give our "D" research dollars to. The Diabetes Research Institute in Miami, and the Children With Diabetes Foundation. I don't give $ to ADA or JDRF. I won't post why here, as I'm sure it would be deleted. I do hope the staff here won't delete my suggestion that anyone of you who may have a child with diabetes and need a place where you can go for love and support visit childrenwithdiabetes[dot]com, and go to the parents' support message boards. They were my LIFELINE for those early years, and often still are! The conferences they put on...which the best of the best researches attend, sponsor, and speak at...are awesome and life-giving to the KIDS, who get a chance to see hundreds and hundreds of other kids who are just like them.

    If you're a nurse with a heart for kids suffering with diabetes, may I encourage you to consider becoming a CDE? Don't do it just for the money if you don't have the heart...we don't need ANY heartless CDE's. Don't do it just so you can work in an office/daytime clinic environment (rather than rotating shifts!) if you aren't sensitive to the emotional ordeal that this desease is...we don't need ANY insensitive CDE's. But if you have a positive attitude, are a team-player, and want to do a great work with your RN career, there's a shortage of CDE's out there and WE WANT YOU!!!

    There's my .02 worth. I'll climb down off my soapbox now.
    Lori RN
  7. by   blondy2061h
    This is good for someone who has had type 1 (used to be termed "Juvenile") diabetes for many years and is suffering severe complications of the disease. They, and ONLY they, will benefit from having normal blood glucose values returen for a period of a year or two. They, and ONLY they, may benefit from being exposed to toxic levels of damaging radiation and losing their immune system and Lord only knows what else in the long-term, in order to save them from what would otherwise be their imminent kidney failure, limb-loss, stroke or blindness.
    But, unfortunately, that's not who this would work on. You need some residual beta cell function, as is only seen in those recently diagnosed.
  8. by   lumberjack
    Ever since I was diagnosed with T1D, we have been "about 5-10 years from a major breakthrough/cure". That was 15 years ago, so while I am thankful for the advances made in treatment, I must agree that the "cures" so far have been worse than the diesease, and have useful application for very few people.
  9. by   WildcatFanRN
    I actually saw this on my local news channel. They also said something about islet cell infusions (whatever that is), which is very, very expensive. My brother would have loved knews of such a step and would have loved to be given a chance to try it as he was an extremely brittle diabetic with sugars either waaay down or up in the 1000 range. Granted he didn't follow things as strictly as he would have if he had not insisted on living way, away from home...but that's another story. But, he did the best he could under his unique circumstances. I wonder where this research will lead, if indeed it actually helps.
  10. by   chiquiraveloski
    This is very promising. I have had Type 1 diabetes since I was five years old. I am 41 now and thankful for whatever "good" genes that I still have, to kinda beat the odds. Having this disease for 36 years now has always been a challenge, yet, I have to say that I do not know how to live any other way.
    I graduated nursing school last May, started working MedSurg Telemetry, and I make it a point to educate diabetic patients. I am hoping this breakthrough becomes successful.
  11. by   Teresag_CNS
    Quote from lumberjack
    Ever since I was diagnosed with T1D, we have been "about 5-10 years from a major breakthrough/cure". That was 15 years ago, so while I am thankful for the advances made in treatment, I must agree that the "cures" so far have been worse than the diesease, and have useful application for very few people.
    What steams me is the way the media play up such things as if they are breakthroughs that will change the lives of millions, when indeed the jury remains out and will be for some time. I am also concerned about long-term effects of irradiation to destroy the native immune system. I only read the summary in Time, not the original article. Does anyone else wonder why the transplanted stem cells don't create a new immune system with the same antibody response as the old one? Does this mean a person would need a stem cell transplant every few years? Lots of issues remain.
  12. by   lpnjoe60
    Like the article says, it's the most promising treatment for diabetics ever. Thank God that Obama changed the stem cell research bill to let the scientists really go after a cure to this devistating disease.
  13. by   Jolie
    Quote from lpnjoe60
    Thank God that Obama changed the stem cell research bill to let the scientists really go after a cure to this devistating disease.
    This treatment involves the use of the patient's own adult stem cells.

    Ironically, his policy change, which shifts the focus to embryonic stem cells, may result in decreased funding of the very treatment that you hail as the "most promising treatment for diabetics ever."

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