Autologous bone marrow stem cells show promise for reversing Type 1 Diabetes

Big news here for stem cell transplants from bone marrow in newly diagnosed Type 1s:

Summary: Reuters news report

Actual study here: JAMA

Strange side effect: significant sperm decrease. But slightly more than half remained insulin free and those who needed to inject insulin were injecting very small doses.

This may be the Reuters article Jenny is referring to: LINK

Bone marrow of adults contains stem cells, called mesenchymal stem cells. These stem cells are treated with a mixture of proteins to force them to specialize as beta cells for insulin production.

The problem of this approach is that beta cells created from bone stem cells could have undetectable abnormalities and permanent genetic changes which would make them unsafe to use.

Thus I am still very sceptical about the safety of this treatment. It is interesting that they found 23 volunteers for this study.

Given that the outcome for quite a few of them was completely normal blood sugars, it’s evident to me why people would volunteer.

There are so many guaranteed bad things that can happen with poorly controlled Type 1 that the risks might be worth it. They monitored these people for about 3 years and did not see any grossly disturbing side effects, which is encouraging.

Every once in a while, a glimmer

I’m with Jenny, I would have volunteered for such a study. The potential, if not for me, then for subsequent advances that would learn from such a study is too great

A major consideration in this study is that it was only effective in people who still had beta cells and were in the post-diagnosis honeymoon.

This is yet another reason for newly diagnosed Type 1s to strive for extremely tight control. Dr. Bernstein claims he has patients who have stayed in the honeymoon stage for years thanks to eating a very low carb diet, and it’s worth noting that he argued in an earlier edition of his book that preserving beta cells would make it possible to profit from future research which would cause those beta cells to replicate.

Once again, Dr. B has been eerily correct.

So if you are newly diagnosed, PLEASE do all you can to attain completely normal numbers, not the 7% A1c that represents blood sugars high enough to kill off beta cells in anyone, not just people with autoimmune disease.