Researchers at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) have created insulin producing cells in vitro that successfully produced insulin in vivo for Type I Diabetes patients. Type I diabetics experience an autoimmune disorder which attacks and destroys the body’s insulin-producing beta cells. These patients have to take continuous insulin injections and closely and constantly monitor their blood sugar levels, since extremely high or low blood sugar levels cause diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperglycemic shock, leading to coma and death. Though diabetes is currently manageable, patients must be constantly vigilant since their bodies’ inability to regulate blood sugar often leads to other systemic diseases such as blood vessel damage, neuropathy and nephropathy, just to name a few. The study from USCF involved directing human pancreatic stem cells to become insulin-producing islets cells in the lab. In an animal model, the cells were then implanted back into the body and were shown to produce insulin in response to blood sugar spikes. Additionally, the islets produced other essential hormones for blood sugar regulation, fully resembling normal pancreatic islets.
A case study utilizing a patient’s own stem cells to treat rheumatoid arthritis demonstrated a drastic decrease in joint pain and inflammation. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) occurs when the immune system incorrectly attacks the body’s tissues, eventually leading to joint deformities, bone erosion and intense pain due to the breakdown of the lining of the joint. Typical treatments for RA involve anti-inflammatory medications, or surgery to repair the joints. However, both types of treatments involve severe side effects and are not guaranteed to work. The stem cell treatment sighted in the case study holds the potential to radically upend current practices and create a new standard of care for this widespread disorder.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been found to aid in the treatment of autoimmune-related lung fibrosis. Interstitial pneumonia is the inflammation of alveoli, and affects patients with pulmonary fibrosis and other connective tissue diseases. Increased fibrosis is due to an overactive immune response--mainly cytotoxic T cells. Past therapies have tried to suppress all immune cells to lower pro-fibrotic molecules. Mesenchymal stem cells are able to selectively change the composition of T cells from cytotoxic to regulatory. Bone marrow derived stem cells interfered with overactive autoimmune processes, and promoted the repair of alveoli tissue.
Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have developed a gene therapy utilizing stem cells, which restores immunity to patients with SCID-X1, also referred to as “Bubble Boy” disease. This genetic disorder prevents immune cells from developing properly, leaving patients prone to potentially fatal infections.
In a newly published phase II clinical trial from the Asan Medical Center in Seoul, Korea, researchers observed full recovery from fistulas [abnormal connections between organs caused by the inflammation] in 75% of patients suffering from Crohn’s disease upon the injection of autologous [the patient’s own] stem cells. MSCs have the ability to regulate the patient’s immune system to reduce inflammation, resulting in the complete closure of the fistulas without recurrence.
Topics: large intestine, bank dental stem cells, Crohn's Disease, autologousstemcells, autoimmune disease, gastrointestinal disease, autoimmune attack, research, StemSave, mesenchymal stem cells, organs, stem cells, Fistulas