Stem cell transplant for type 1 diabetes

Stem cell transplantation is an experimental treatment for type 1 diabetes, but it is not yet an approved or widely available therapy.

Stem cell transplants for type 1 diabetes use stem cells to regenerate the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas that have been destroyed by the autoimmune attack causing the disease.

Clinical trials have been conducted using different types of stem cells – embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells and others.

Some trials showed beneficial results in terms of increasing insulin production and reducing insulin requirements in some patients for a period of time after the transplant.

Such effects have generally been temporary, lasting months to a few years before the autoimmune attack returns and destroys the newly formed beta cells.

Challenges remain and include finding the ideal stem cell source, preventing rejection/autoimmunity, and achieving long-lasting restoration of beta cell function.

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