Stem Cell Therapy Cures Type 1 Diabetes in Mice
Whether the new approach would work in humans is unknown, experts say
The immune-suppressing drug was given for 10 weeks, and bone marrow transplants were given intravenously on weeks 2, 3 and 4 after the diabetes diagnosis.
The mice were cured throughout the study follow-up of 120 days, which is about the lifespan of a mouse, Zaghouani said.
Zaghouani said he believes the immune attack may not be ongoing, and he hopes to give the mice bone marrow transplants without the immune-suppressing drug to see if that is sufficient to cure their disease.
Rakeman explained that while current thinking is that "a cure would need to address the immune system attack and the regrowth of beta cells," some scientists suspect that the immune system might not have initially gone after healthy beta cells. It's possible that the immune system actually targeted beta cells that had already been damaged. "This is a different way of thinking how the disease develops," said Rakeman.
Rakeman said this research might spur the development of new drug targets that could mimic the action of the stem cells. But the current research is many steps away from such a therapy for humans, according to both experts.