Stem-cell based treatment aims to reverse type 1 diabetes

Stem-cell based treatment aims to reverse type 1 diabetes

Since its discovery in 1922, insulin has changed the lives of millions diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Still, persons with type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily by injection or pump to survive. Replacement of insulin-producing beta cell by transplantation holds promise for one day freeing persons with diabetes from having to take insulin.

Research from Dr Timothy Kieffer’s UBC laboratory hopes to change the lives of those living with type 1 diabetes through the promise of cell therapy. The promise comes from success in the lab to reverse diabetes in mice using insulin-producing cells derived from stem cells to provide the body with the ability to produce its own insulin.

Ten adults from Vancouver will be enrolled in a new clinical trial in humans that has been launched. Lead clinical investigator and UBC endocrinologist Dr David Thompson calls the new treatment: “the most promising he has ever worked on.”

Results will take time but the promise of cell therapy moving from the bench to the bedside provides new hope for persons with diabetes.

Image: Photo headshot Tim Kieffer


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