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Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2009 Oct 16;1(1):19. doi: 10.1186/1758-5996-1-19.

Stem cell therapy for type 1 diabetes mellitus: a review of recent clinical trials.

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1
Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil. ce.couri@yahoo.com.br.

Abstract

Stem cell therapy is one of the most promising treatments for the near future. It is expected that this kind of therapy can ameliorate or even reverse some diseases. With regard to type 1 diabetes, studies analyzing the therapeutic effects of stem cells in humans began in 2003 in the Hospital das Clínicas of the Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto - SP USP, Brazil, and since then other centers in different countries started to randomize patients in their clinical trials. Herein we summarize recent data about beta cell regeneration, different ways of immune intervention and what is being employed in type 1 diabetic patients with regard to stem cell repertoire to promote regeneration and/or preservation of beta cell mass.The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) was a 7-year longitudinal study that demonstrated the importance of the intensive insulin therapy when compared to conventional treatment in the development of chronic complications in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). This study also demonstrated another important issue: there is a reverse relationship between C-peptide levels (endogenous indicator of insulin secretion) chronic complications - that is, the higher the C-peptide levels, the lower the incidence of nephropathy, retinopathy and hypoglycemia. From such data, beta cell preservation has become an additional target in the management of T1DM 1.

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