Stem Cell Therapy for Type I Diabetes

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Shahzy Emritte Posted: Wed, Jun 4 2014 5:24 PM



I am a Type I juvenile diabetic, diagnosed when I was 16 years old. I am now 32 years old and have started seeing some early diabetic retina damage to my eyes. I have been on the insulin pump for the past 3 years and currently I was looking into stem cell therapy for the slowing down/further prevention of more diabetic damage to my organs. I know that stem cell therapy has not yet been approved in Canada but it is available for commercial use in the U.S.


I am a Biology graduate so I understand the layman terms and have a good grasp of the procedure and the risks involved. I am trying to get answers to a few questions now. I would be grateful if anyone could advise me here.


1.       I am looking into StemGenex from the U.S ( They take stem cells from the patient’s adipose tissue to perform the procedure.  How reliable is that? I know ideally the hematopoietic stem cells would work best but can pluripotent mesenchymal stem cells from adipose tissue work too? Why not use the HSCs? Is there any guarantee that MSCs can develop into beta cells at all? I know they can generate chondrocytes, adipocytes and osteoblasts but there’s no proof to date that they can generate pancreatic cells…

2.       I read that there might be a risk of sarcoma associated with the new stem cells, but that might be just for embryonic ones. Are there any risks associated with stem cells from other sources?

3.       From what I understand, once they inject the stem cells into my body, the worst case scenario would be that they don’t work/are not sustainable enough to keep producing insulin, right? Or is there something else that I am missing? Any greater risk of developing cancer at a later stage?

4.       If this therapy is now available, how come more patients are not taking advantage of it? Why is it not yet FDA approved for Diabetes?


Basically, any advice that I can get here would help me a lot in understanding the risks involved in the stem cell therapy as I understand that it is still in the testing stage for diabetes.



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