Wednesday, April 11, 2007

New Promise for Diabetes Treatment Using Stem Cells

A new research study treated fifteen young diabetics in Brazil, all suffering from Type I diabetes, with stem cells drawn from their own blood. Though too early to call it a cure, the procedure has enabled thirteen of the young people, who have Type I diabetes, to live insulin-free so far, some as long as three years.

"It's the first time in the history of Type 1 diabetes where people have gone with no treatment whatsoever ... no medications at all, with normal blood sugars," said study co-author Dr. Richard Burt of Northwestern University's medical school in Chicago.

While the procedure can be potentially life-threatening, none of the 15 patients in the study died or suffered lasting side effects. But it didn't work for two of them.

Larger, more rigorous studies are needed to determine if stem cell transplants could become standard treatment for people with the disease once called juvenile diabetes. It is less common than Type 2 diabetes, which is associated with obesity.

Read the full article by AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner here.

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