Diabetes is a global health concern that affects millions of people.1 One of the most serious forms of this disease is type 1 diabetes. In this type of diabetes, the body can’t produce enough insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels.
Once diagnosed, type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition that, despite lack of an available cure, can be effectively managed. The main goal is to maintain stable blood sugar levels to reduce the risk of various complications, such as heart disease, nerve problems, vision issues, kidney concerns, and difficulties during pregnancy.2 The standard approach for managing this condition involves insulin injections.
But there’s hope on the horizon. Researchers have been hard at work searching for better ways to treat type 1 diabetes. One promising avenue is cellular therapy, particularly using the types of cells that can be found in cord blood and cord tissue.3 These cells have unique properties that can help the body repair itself and potentially combat some of the complications of this condition.
A promising treatment option
Researchers are investigating multiple uses of stem cells in the treatment of type 1 diabetes. Stem cells, like those found in umbilical cord blood and cord tissue, have unique qualities that make them potentially valuable in treating type 1 diabetes. These cells, especially hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), like those found in cord blood, have shown promise in clinical trials in treating autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes.4 For example, in a study back in 2012, some type 1 diabetes patients who underwent a stem cell transplant using their own HSCs from peripheral blood saw decreased insulin dependence.5
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), like those found in cord tissue, are also showing potential. These cells can signal other nearby cells, help control the immune response, reduce inflammation, fight fibrosis, and battle oxidative stress.3,6 Clinical trials using MSCs have shown promise in reducing blood sugar levels and insulin-dependence in patients with type 1 diabetes.7
The future of newborn stem cell research
Type 1 diabetes is a challenging condition, but newborn stem cells may offer a ray of hope as a potential future treatment. While researchers are optimistic, more studies are needed to understand how well newborn stem cells may potentially treat type 1 diabetes. As a part of pre-clinical studies, scientists are working to determine the right cell dose, the best time for treatment, and the safest ways to deliver the cells.8
One essential part of this research journey is choosing to preserve your baby’s cord blood and cord tissue stem cells. Banking these valuable newborn stem cells for possible future use might someday offer Insception Lifebank families the opportunity to use their stored cells when looking for better treatments and a brighter future for loved ones with type 1 diabetes.
1. Saeedi, P. et al. Global and regional diabetes prevalence estimates for 2019 and projections for 2030 and 2045: Results from the International Diabetes Federation Diabetes Atlas, 9th edition. Diabetes Res. Clin. Pract. 157, 107843 (2019). 2. American Diabetes Association. Diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care. 2010 Jan;33 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S62-9. doi: 10.2337/dc10-S062. Erratum in: Diabetes Care. 2010 Apr;33(4):e57. PMID: 20042775; PMCID: PMC2797383. 3. Moreira, A., Kahlenberg, S. & Hornsby, P. Therapeutic potential of mesenchymal stem cells for diabetes. J. Mol. Endocrinol. 59, R109–R120 (2017). 4. Ben Nasr, M. et al. The use of hematopoietic stem cells in autoimmune diseases. Regen. Med. 11, 395–405 (2016). 5. Li, L. et al. Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation modulates immunocompetent cells and improves β-cell function in Chinese patients with new onset of type 1 diabetes. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 97, 1729–1736 (2012). 6. Pixley, J. S. Mesenchymal stem cells to treat type 1 diabetes. Biochim. Biophys. Acta – Mol. Basis Dis. 1866, 165315 (2020). 7. Huang, Q., Huang, Y. & Liu, J. Mesenchymal Stem Cells: An Excellent Candidate for the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus. 2021, (2021). 8. Zhu, Y. et al. Administration of mesenchymal stem cells in diabetic kidney disease: mechanisms, signaling pathways, and preclinical evidence. Mol. Cell. Biochem. (2022) doi:10.1007/s11010-022-04421-4.
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