From Anchorage, Alaska, USA:
Can the umbilical cord that I saved from my son have anything in there that might be able to help?
The nearest approach to a 'cure' for type 1A (autoimmune) diabetes is through some form of transplantation. A Canadian group recently took a significant step forward with islet cell transplantation. However, this is is still restricted for children, in part because of the lack of donors, but primarily because of the need for lifetime immunosuppression. The latter problem promises to be solved soon, and there is much research to look for surrogate insulin producing cells.
One possibility for the latter role are stem cells and one politically unaffected source for stem cells is the umbilical cord. However, these cells show minimal differentiation, and whilst they have been lifesaving in some cases of hereditary aplastic anemias, they have so far not thought to be suitable for islet cell regeneration. Quite recently though, it has been shown that there may be a way around this block of early differentiation, but even so any sort of practical application for children would seem to be many years away.
Original posting 15 Apr 2003
Posted to Research: Cure
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:46
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