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Chinese Medical Miracle: Stem Cells Cure Man of Diabetes

Daniel Kim Views  

A successful treatment for diabetes using stem cell therapy is making headlines for the first time in China.

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP) on the 27th (local time), researchers at Changzheng Hospital in Shanghai announced that they had treated a patient in their 50s with diabetes using stem cell therapy, a first in the world, and published it in the international academic journal Cell Discovery last month.

The male participant in the clinical trial had been living with type 2 diabetes for 25 years. He had a kidney transplant in 2017, but his pancreas had almost lost its function, requiring him to take insulin injections multiple times a day. Based on previous research that pancreatic progenitor cells generated from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) can reverse hyperglycemia, the research team set out to develop the treatment. Previously, researchers struggled with the differentiation of cells remaining in the body after treatment, which could form abnormal cells. However, the researchers solved this problem using non-tumorigenic stem cells. The clinical trial included a method of creating an artificial version of cells found in the pancreas that produce insulin and maintain blood sugar levels. The patient involved in the clinical trial received a stem cell transplant in 2021 and has been off medication since 2022. The paper revealed that he no longer needs help from injectable insulin or oral medication.

This case in China suggests that patients can regain their body’s ability to naturally regulate blood sugar levels without changing their lifestyle. Professor Timothy Kieffer from the Department of Cellular Physiology at the University of British Columbia in Canada, who did not participate in the research, stated, “This study represents a significant advancement in the use of stem cells to address diabetes.”

However, commercialization requires more time since this study’s results have been supported in a laboratory-stage clinical trial with just one patient.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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