> Diabetes Research > Stem Cell Treatment may end Insulin Injections

Stem Cell Treatment may end Insulin Injections

Dr. Richard Burt of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine found a way to treat diabetes without the need for painful insulin injections and even other medications.

Stem cell treatment begins by drawing blood from a diabetes patient and the stem cells in the blood can be processed chemically to become insulin producers. Such formulated blood is now re¬injected to the patient. According to Burk, such approach does not experience the usual dilemma of transplant rejection.

“It’s your own stem cell. There’s no risk of it being rejected, because it’s yours to begin with,” he explains. In collaboration with Brazilian doctors, Burt was able to test his concept of using stem cells as a cure for diabetes with two dozen patients diagnosed with early stage diabetes.

Of the 24 participants, 20 were able to manage their blood sugar levels without the need for insulin injections or any medications. One patient did not even need insulin for over four years.

“That’s the first time in the treatment of diabetes that after one intervention, people are on no medications whatsoever,” Burt said. He added that while the results have been very encouraging, he knows the process of approving stem cell transplantation as a standard treatment for diabetes is long and arduous.

“The next step is a randomized trial, and that randomized trial is approved now at Northwestern, and it’s at the FDA. We’re awaiting FDA approval. Once we get that, we’ll get that started here.”

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