Wednesday, April 11, 2007, 4:15 a.m.
SINCE I HAVE been a diabetic since the 1970s, the following report from The (London) Times caught my eye this morning:
Diabetics using stem-cell therapy have been able to stop taking insulin injections for the first time, after their bodies started to produce the hormone naturally again.
In a breakthrough trial, 15 young patients with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes were given drugs to suppress their immune systems followed by transfusions of stem cells drawn from their own blood.
The results show that insulin-dependent diabetics can be freed from reliance on needles by an injection of their own stem cells. The therapy could signal a revolution in the treatment of the condition, which affects more than 300,000 Britons.
People with type 1 diabetes have to give themselves regular injections to control blood-sugar levels, as their ability to create the hormone naturally is destroyed by an immune disorder.
All but two of the volunteers in the trial, details of which are published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), do not need daily insulin injections up to three years after stopping their treatment regimes.