On World Diabetes Day, McGowan Institute faculty member Massimo Trucco, MD, University of Pittsburgh Hillman Professor of Pediatric Immunology and Division Director of Immunogenetics at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, provided an update on the use of adult stem cells in the reversal of Type 1 Diabetes. Dr. Trucco also talked about the critical immunologic steps that lead to autoimmunity in Type 1 Diabetes and the use of this information to prevent and possibly cure Type 1 Diabetes. Dr. Tucco’s presentation, “Adult Stem Cells and Reversal of Type 1 Diabetes,” was a part of a teleconference of the leaders of the Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet. The Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, and the American Diabetes Association.
Dr. Trucco reviewed his trials, which began in July, that involve injecting patients with their own immune cells -- after they have been genetically altered so they can block the destruction of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Such a technique has proven effective in mice. Trucco and his colleagues are eager to test the technique in children -- a population at high risk of developing Type 1 diabetes.
Researchers are using the technique on 18-year-olds who are able to give consent to the experiments. Five people have been enrolled so far, and four of them have started to receive the injections. Trucco's goal is to enroll 10 more people in the trial.
"We've had very positive results so far," Dr. Trucco said about the first phase of the trials that are testing the technique's safety. "We have to first prove that this is safe. When we pass that goal, the second step will be to prove its efficacy."
Type 1 Diabetes is increasing every year, reaching epidemic proportions in some countries, with the greatest increase in children under age 5. In response to this phenomenon, diabetes researchers across the globe have been working to advance the study, prevention, and treatment of Type 1 Diabetes. As a result, the way diabetes is detected and treated is dramatically changing. A simple blood test can now identify the autoantibodies for Type 1 Diabetes up to 10 years before diagnosis.
If diabetes can be delayed, even for a few years, those at risk may be able to postpone the difficult challenges of controlling their glucose levels and the development of serious complications. The serious complications of diabetes include heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney damage, and lower-limb amputations.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Find Law/PRNewswire (11/06/07)
USA Today (11/13/07)
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (11/15/07)
Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet