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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Stem Cell Therapy May Combat Type 1 Diabetes

In the any news is good news dept....

A pilot study of people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes found that stem cell therapy eliminated the need for insulin therapy for varying periods of time.

This is the first trial to look at stem cell therapy in humans with this form of the disease. But experts stressed that the research is preliminary and urged caution when interpreting the results, which are published in the April 11 issue of theJournal of the American Medical Association...

Type 1 diabetes develops when the body's immune system attacks the pancreatic beta cells, which produce insulin -- the hormone that transports sugar from the blood to cells for energy.

"In type 1 diabetes, the immune system is out of balance," Skyler explained. "Ordinarily, all of us have some cells with the potential to destroy the pancreas, but the regulatory immune system prevents those cells from becoming sufficiently active. In type 1 (diabetes), there's a greater proportion of activity of the destroying cells and lesser activity of the regulatory cells. The goal is to try to bring that back into balance."


Robin said...

The other encouraging thing about this study is that the process involved using the patient's own (adult) stem cells, not embryonic stem cells. Which means, in turn, that it carries none of the ethical problems that would be involved in harvesting embryonic stem cells (which necessarily involves destroying a human embryo).

In fact, something else that's encouraging is that *all* of the promising research I've come across so far involves adult stem cells. The reason that's encouraging is because adult stem cell research is something there's no political debate about. Both Left and Right agree on the value of adult stem cell research; it's only embryonic stem cell research that raises problems. So studies like this one are one place, at least, where we can put acrimonious politics aside and jointly celebrate something that's good for all humanity.

Patrick Logan said...

That's a political issue, not an ethical one.

Notice no one complains that in vitro fertilization results in all those cells being flushed eventually anyway.

Why? Because many more voters are involved with in vitro fertilization than are affected by lack of stem cell research.

Politics. Kind of the same reason religious right wing agitators do not complain about Walmart doing so much business with China, which is responsible for a far more ethical abortion situation than exists in the US. True believers could bring that relationship down if their leadership brought it to their attention.

Not on their political agenda however. Because abortion is not an ethical issue for most leaders. It is a political vehicle. Same with stem cells.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.