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BMC Med. 2012 Jan 10;10:3. doi: 10.1186/1741-7015-10-3.

Reversal of type 1 diabetes via islet β cell regeneration following immune modulation by cord blood-derived multipotent stem cells.

Author information

  • 1Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1819 West Polk Street, Chicago, IL 60612, USA. yongzhao@uic.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Inability to control autoimmunity is the primary barrier to developing a cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D). Evidence that human cord blood-derived multipotent stem cells (CB-SCs) can control autoimmune responses by altering regulatory T cells (Tregs) and human islet β cell-specific T cell clones offers promise for a new approach to overcome the autoimmunity underlying T1D.

METHODS:

We developed a procedure for Stem Cell Educator therapy in which a patient's blood is circulated through a closed-loop system that separates lymphocytes from the whole blood and briefly co-cultures them with adherent CB-SCs before returning them to the patient's circulation. In an open-label, phase1/phase 2 study, patients (n=15) with T1D received one treatment with the Stem Cell Educator. Median age was 29 years (range: 15 to 41), and median diabetic history was 8 years (range: 1 to 21).

RESULTS:

Stem Cell Educator therapy was well tolerated in all participants with minimal pain from two venipunctures and no adverse events. Stem Cell Educator therapy can markedly improve C-peptide levels, reduce the median glycated hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) values, and decrease the median daily dose of insulin in patients with some residual β cell function (n=6) and patients with no residual pancreatic islet β cell function (n=6). Treatment also produced an increase in basal and glucose-stimulated C-peptide levels through 40 weeks. However, participants in the Control Group (n=3) did not exhibit significant change at any follow-up. Individuals who received Stem Cell Educator therapy exhibited increased expression of co-stimulating molecules (specifically, CD28 and ICOS), increases in the number of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Tregs, and restoration of Th1/Th2/Th3 cytokine balance.

CONCLUSIONS:

Stem Cell Educator therapy is safe, and in individuals with moderate or severe T1D, a single treatment produces lasting improvement in metabolic control. Initial results indicate Stem Cell Educator therapy reverses autoimmunity and promotes regeneration of islet β cells. Successful immune modulation by CB-SCs and the resulting clinical improvement in patient status may have important implications for other autoimmune and inflammation-related diseases without the safety and ethical concerns associated with conventional stem cell-based approaches.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01350219.

Comment in

PMID:
22233865
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3322343
Free PMC Article

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