From Coon Rapids, Minnesota, USA:
One of my four year old identical twin girls was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes shortly before her second birthday, and my husband also has it. We are now expecting a baby, and I am interested in your opinion on cord blood banking and its future use in a cure for diabetes.
It used to be that cord blood cells were considered 'mesodermal' and that they couldn't be used to develop 'endodermal' tissues like pancreas. Therefore you would have to depend on primordial stem cells from fertility clinics, a politically hot potato. Recently however, there has been evidence that insulin producing cells can be derived from bone marrow stem cells, and to me, what is even more intriguing is that there is now a lot of research going on in what are called 'transcription factors' which are small proteins involved at various stages in the development of glucose responsive insulin production.
At all events, it seems to be a possibility that a person's own cells could be cultured and genetically engineered to replace islet cells, and then of course they'd need to be protected against autoimmunity. As a clinician, I'd still say save your money.
Original posting 7 May 2003
Posted to Research: Cure
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:44
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