A new procedure offers hope of freeing some type 1 diabetes patients from insulin - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

A new procedure offers hope of freeing some type 1 diabetes patients from insulin

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A stem cell transplant procedure is now offering some hope of freeing patients, who have type one diabetes, from the need for insulin or any other medications.  This is according to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study was designed by Dr. Richard Burt, from Northwestern University, and took place in Brazil.  The goal was to replace patients faulty immune systems, that destroys islet cells in the pancrease, causing diabetes. Dr. Burt refers to the immune system as the police force because it is supposed to protect us from illness.

This is how the study took place.  In 15 patients, doctores removed the patients' own stem cells from their blood and froze them.  The patients underwent chemotherapy for 4 days to weaken their immune systems.  That way their bodies were more receptive to the stem cells when doctors put them back in the patients. 

The study reports that the procedure was safe in all the patients.  It was effective in all but one patient. 

Patients were hospitalized for 3 weeks to undergo the transplant.  Dr. Burt reports that the procedure may only work on people who have recently been diagnosed with diabetes because they will have some islet cells in the pancreas. 

 
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