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Scientists Cure Diabetes With Stem Cell Therapy In World First

Chinese scientists have achieved a significant medical milestone by successfully curing a long-term type 2 diabetes patient using a novel cell therapy. This breakthrough, reported on April 30 in the journal Cell Discovery, represents the world’s first successful use of stem cell-derived islet transplantation for diabetes.

The patient, a 59-year-old who had been managing diabetes for 25 years, received a transplant of pancreatic cells derived from his own stem cells in 2021 at Shanghai Changzheng Hospital. Prior to this, he had experienced a severe decline in pancreatic islet function following a kidney transplant in 2017, necessitating daily insulin injections.

The innovative treatment involved converting the patient’s blood cells into stem cells, which were then transformed into pancreatic islet cells. Within 11 weeks of the transplant, the patient no longer required external insulin, and within a year, he was able to discontinue oral diabetes medication altogether. Follow-up examinations indicated restored pancreatic and normal kidney functions, suggesting the patient had been cured of diabetes.

Diabetes remains a major global health challenge, affecting 422 million people worldwide, with current management primarily relying on insulin injections and other medications. This groundbreaking achievement in China, which comes after more than a decade of research, offers new hope for a potential cure.

Looking ahead, the FDA has approved a similar cell therapy developed by a Chicago-based startup for type 1 diabetes, showing a growing interest in this approach. However, Chinese researchers emphasize the need for further studies to confirm the long-term efficacy and broader applicability of their treatment. This pioneering work opens new avenues for diabetes therapy, potentially transforming the lives of millions affected by this chronic condition.

Filed in Medical. Read more about and .

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