Skip to main content
Accessibility|Contact|Privacy|Terms of Service

Stem Cells Help People with Diabetes become Insulin Free

  • Published: 2009-04-14 : Author: JAMA and Archives Journals
  • Synopsis: People with type 1 diabetes who underwent a certain type of stem cell transplantation became insulin free.

Main Document

The majority of patients with type 1 diabetes who underwent a certain type of stem cell transplantation became insulin free, several for more than three years, with good glycemic control, and also increased C-peptide levels, an indirect measure of beta-cell function.

The majority of patients with type 1 diabetes who underwent a certain type of stem cell transplantation became insulin free, several for more than three years, with good glycemic control, and also increased C-peptide levels, an indirect measure of beta-cell function, according to a study in the April 15 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on diabetes.

Richard K. Burt, M.D., of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, presented the findings of the study at a JAMA media briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Clinical evidence indicates that there is an inverse association between beta-cell (a type of cell in the pancreas that secretes insulin) preservation and function and chronic complications of type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM), and the higher the C-peptide levels (a byproduct of insulin production, made up of amino acids), the lower the incidence of some types of complications of type 1 DM. A previous study found that autologous non-myeloablative hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in 15 patients with newly diagnosed type 1 DM resulted in the majority of patients becoming insulin free during the follow-up, which averaged about 19 months. "However, it was suggested that subsequent insulin independence was a prolonged honeymoon period due to dietary and exercise changes associated with close post-transplant medical observation," the authors write, and it was not known if this change was because of an improvement in beta-cell preservation.

HSCT, which uses a patient's own blood stem cells, involves the removal and treatment of the stem cells, and their return to the patient by intravenous injection.

Dr. Burt and colleagues conducted a study to determine if post-transplant insulin independence was due to improved beta-cell function by monitoring the C-peptide levels of 23 patients who underwent stem cell transplantation. The patients, with type 1 DM, were ages 13-31 years.

Of the 23 patients, 20 experienced time free from insulin (12 continuously and 8 transiently). Patients remained continuously insulin free for an average time of 31 months (range, 14-52 months). One patient had more than 4 years with no exogenous (produced outside the body) insulin use, 4 patients for at least 3 years, 3 patients for at least 2 years, and 4 patients for at least 1 year. Eight patients relapsed and resumed insulin use at low doses. The majority of patients achieved good glycemic control.

In the continuously insulin-free group, average area under the curve (AUC; a type of measurement) of C-peptide levels before transplantation (225.0 ng/mL per 2 hours) showed a significant increase at 24 months after transplantation (785.4 ng/mL per 2 hours) and at 36 months after transplantation (728.1 ng/mL per 2 hours). In the transient insulin-independent group, average AUC of C-peptide levels also increased from 148.9 ng/mL per 2 hours pre-transplantation to 546.8 ng/mL per 2 hours at 36 months, which was sustained at 48 months. In this group, 2 patients regained insulin independence after treatment with the anti-hyperglycemic drug sitagliptin, which was associated with an increase in C-peptide levels.

Two patients developed pneumonia in the hospital, 3 patients developed late endocrine dysfunction, and 9 patients developed oligospermia (sperm deficiency). There were no deaths.

"In conclusion, autologous non-myeloablative HSCT was able to induce prolonged and significant increases of C-peptide levels associated with absence of or reduction of daily insulin doses in a small group of patients with type 1 DM," the researchers write. "At the present time, autologous non-myeloablative HSCT remains the only treatment capable of reversing type 1 DM in humans. Randomized controlled trials and further biological studies are necessary to confirm the role of this treatment in changing the natural history of type 1 DM."

Similar Topics

1 : Smart Cells Releases 1st Sample to Treat Autism : Smart Cells.
2 : Discovery May Result in Medication to Build Stronger Muscles Even in Old Age : Karolinska Institutet.
3 : Sensory Interneurons from Stem Cells Enable the Sense of Touch : University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences.
4 : COPD Patients See Improvement from Stem Cell Therapy : Lung Institute.
5 : Stem Cell Therapy to Relieve Joint Pain : Dr. Mark Wagner.
From our Regenerative Medicine section - Full List (94 Items)


Submit disability news, coming events, as well as assistive technology product news and reviews.


Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.


Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.


List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.


Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be, and information on blood group types/compatibility.





1 : Yelp Reviews of Nursing Homes Tend to Focus on Staff Attitudes and Responsiveness
2 : Non-Invasive Spinal Stimulation Enables Paralyzed People to Regain Use of Hands
3 : What if You Could Know Your Mild Cognitive Impairment Would Not Progress?
4 : Millennials Fail to Understand Dangers of Tanning
5 : Appetite Loss After Exercising Explained
6 : Bias Keeps Women with Higher Body Weight Away From the Doctor
7 : Smart Hoteliers are Building a Healthier Future
8 : Teaching Baby Sign Language - Nita, Show Us More


Disclaimer: This site does not employ and is not overseen by medical professionals. Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.

Reporting Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.

© 2004 - 2018 Disabled World™