Small stem cells study could lead to type 2 diabetes treatment

A new study has demonstrated that stem cells could be a viable treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes.
The research was conducted by the Diabetes Research Institute, Florida, who concluded that adult allogenic bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal precursor cells (MPCs) could target the inflammation that is thought to be a cause of type 2 diabetes.
61 adults with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes either received the cell product, called rexlemestrocel-L (Mesoblast) or placebo. They were then monitored for 12 weeks.
During this follow-up period, significant reductions in HbA1c were associated with Mesoblast compared to those who were infused with placebo.
No adverse effects were associated with infusion of the cell product and none of the subjects developed donor-specific anti-HLA antibodies (anti-Human Leukocyte Antigen).
The researchers assessed that while this was only a short-term study, the safety and feasibility of MPCs as a treatment for type 2 diabetes was demonstrated.
Dr. Jay S Skyler, MD, deputy director for clinical research and academic programs at the Diabetes Research Institute, told Medscape Medical News: “This is just a preliminary study. There was no safety issue, which is good, and there may be some beneficial effect….It wasn’t powered for that but showed there might be. We’re pretty excited about that.
“Type 2 diabetes, because there’s a significant inflammatory component, is an obvious one to look at….There’s evidence that if you reduce inflammation you might get beta cells to work better and you certainly lessen insulin resistance.”
MSCs cells are being widely investigated due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers are targeting MSCs being able to treat diabetic blindness and diabetic neuropathy.

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