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Curr Diab Rep. 2012 Oct;12(5):517-23. doi: 10.1007/s11892-012-0308-1.

Stem cell educator therapy and induction of immune balance.

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Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a T cell-mediated autoimmune disease that causes the deficit of pancreatic islet β cells. A true cure has proven elusive despite intensive research pressure by using conventional approaches over the past 25 years. The situation highlights the challenges we face in conquering this disease. Alternative approaches are needed. Increasing evidence demonstrates that stem cells possess the function of immune modulation. We established the Stem Cell Educator therapy by using cord blood-derived multipotent stem cells (CB-SCs). A closed-loop system that circulates a patient's blood through a blood cell separator, briefly co-cultures the patient's lymphocytes with adherent CB-SCs in vitro, and returns the educated lymphocytes (but not the CB-SCs) to the patient's circulation. Our clinical trial reveals that a single treatment with the Stem Cell Educator provides lasting reversal of autoimmunity that allows regeneration of islet β cells and improvement of metabolic control in subjects with long-standing T1D.

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