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Dr. Prodromos Stem Cell/PRP Blog August 2017

Dr. Prodromos Stem Cell/PRP Blog August 2017


Stem cell therapy is being used in every area of clinical medicine. The general area of autoimmune disorders is one of the most promising. While the tissue regenerative aspects of stem cell therapy garner the most attention, their immune-modulatory capabilities are at least as important. For reasons that are only partially clear, diabetes is becoming increasingly common. It requires strict long term care to minimize its effects including frequent insulin injections and often insulin pumps. These are time consuming, expensive, and limiting to patients. And they do no completely control its long term effects. Diabetes is a leading cause of both blindness and kidney disease for example. There are many areas of ongoing stem cell research to treat Diabetes. However a 2013 paper entitled "Targeting insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes via immune modulation of cord blood-derived multipotent stem cells (CB-SCs) in stem cell educator therapy: phase I/II clinical trial" by Yong Zhao et al. showed remarkable results from a brilliant and completely different use of stem cell therapy than any prior studies.

Their technique is as follows (from their study from the University of Illinois) on patients with type 2 (formerly adult onset) diabetes.

"All patients received one treatment with the Stem Cell Educator therapy in which a patient's blood is circulated through a closed-loop system that separates mononuclear cells from the whole blood, briefly co-cultures them with adherent cord blood-derived multipotent stem cells (CB-SCs), and returns the educated autologous cells to the patient's circulation."

Their results and conclusion showed:

"Notably, the islet beta-cell function in Group C subjects was markedly recovered, as demonstrated by the restoration of C-peptide levels. Mechanistic studies revealed that Stem Cell Educator therapy reverses immune dysfunctions through immune modulation on monocytes and balancing Th1/Th2/Th3 cytokine production.

CONCLUSIONS: Clinical data from the current phase 1/phase 2 study demonstrate that Stem Cell Educator therapy is a safe approach that produces lasting improvement in metabolic control for individuals with moderate or severe T2D who receive a single treatment. In addition, this approach does not appear to have the safety and ethical concerns associated with conventional stem cell-based approaches."

These results endured for the full four year follow-up period of the study. They also performed this technique on Type 1 Diabetes (formerly juvenile onset) patients with equally good results.
Dr Zhao has moved and is now associate scientist at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. He is conducting a trial of type 1 diabetes adult patients in New Jersey, and further trials on young type 1 patients in China.

While the vast majority of disease specific research dollars are spent on useful drugs, backed by the huge financial resources of pharmaceutical companies, stem cell technology, as ingenuitively applied here, represent a vastly better long term answer. Unfortunately, however, these stem cell studies often have difficulty obtaining the funding they need to rapidly accelerate the pace at which these revolutionary treatments can be made available to the general public. In the meantime though, these studies should provide hope to patients who will benefit, hopefully sooner than later, from the advances they represent.

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