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November 19, 2009

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Diabetes therapy hailed

MORE than 30 patients with Type 1 diabetes have been able to survive without insulin shots for months -- over a year, in one case -- thanks to a novel therapy of transplanting patients' own blood stem cells, along with applying other immunity medication.

It was the first batch of successful cases reported in the city, experts said yesterday.

"This therapy can bring hope to Type 1 diabetes patients, who needn't receive shots every day, which can better their quality of life," said Dr Xu Zuming, president of the city's No. 455 Hospital of People's Liberation Army.

Similar therapies carried out in Western countries in the past five years have found that over 90 percent of patients undergoing stem cell transplants stopped or decreased insulin shots, said experts from the National Stem Cell Engineering Technology Research Center.

The center was officially established yesterday at the No. 455 Hospital.

In the therapy, patients received a high dose of immune suppression drugs, followed by an intravenous injection of their own blood stem cells that had previously been removed and treated.

Experts said this treatment can help the body regenerate proper pancreas function.

In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks cells in the pancreas that make insulin. But the new therapy is only effective for those with early onset of the disease, the experts said.


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