A four-year-old Australian girl has become the first person in the world to be injected with blood from her umbilical cord to stop her developing type 1 diabetes.
Isla Robinson was recruited by a University of Sydney team led by Professor Maria Craig, who believe umbilical cord blood could change the immune systems of children at risk of type 1 due to its rich content of stem cells and immune cells.
The world-first study was first reported in 2012, with Isla becoming the first participate on Wednesday 27 June. Her half-brother has type 1 diabetes, while Isla’s sister Ruby, who is six, was diagnosed with type 1 following her first blood test.
Heightened risk of type 1
Following Isla’s first blood test, she was tested every six months and was recently found to have three of the four possible antibodies that heighten her risk of developing type 1.
Isla’s cord blood was taken in 2011 after her birth. Her medical team conducted the infusion this week in the hope that this will improve Isla’s immune system and prevent type 1 diabetes from developing.
Isla’s mother, Rachel Weldo, told smh.com: “It just seemed like a good insurance policy I suppose. Now being involved in this trial we just feel so grateful.”
Isla is the first of 20 youngsters scheduled to obtain the transfusio, with researchers optimistic that an umbilical cord, which is normally discarded after birth, along with the placenta, could lead to treating a number of conditions.

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