Stem cells from bone marrow delay diabetes type I progression
In diabetes type I, there is a progressive decline of insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells, which is caused by the development of immune response directed to autoantigens of pancreatic islets. In advanced diabetes, the patient is completely dependent on exogenous insulin. Therefore, a medical team from Uppsala University Hospital has conducted a clinical trial on the application of autologous bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) with the aim of inhibiting progression of diabetes.
The MSC cells have immunomodulatory properties - they downregulate the immune response. Their systemic infusion in patients with newly diagnosed diabetes gives hope for preserving beta cell function for a longer time. The hypothesis of the researchers was found to be valid, as in the group of patients who were given MSCs a 5% increase in C-peptide level in mixed meal tolerance test was observed. In contrast, patients from the control group showed a 15% decline in this parameter. However, no effect of cell therapy on several other markers, like glycated hemoglobin, daily insulin dose, and fasting C-peptide level, was observed. The study results suggest that systemic administration of MSCs might be a good strategy for delaying the progression of diabetes.
Source: Carlsson, P.O., et al., Preserved beta-cell function in type 1 diabetes by mesenchymal stromal cells. Diabetes, 2015. 64(2): p. 587-92.