Stem Cell Transplants Could Be 'Transformational' in Type 1 Diabetes
Two patients with type 1 diabetes have now experienced improved blood glucose control with Vertex Pharmaceutical's investigational allogeneic stem-cell derived islets (VX-880), with the first person now completely insulin-independent at 9 months post-transplant. Prior to the procedure, both patients had hypoglycemic unawareness and had experienced multiple episodes of severe hypoglycemia, conditions considered severe enough to justify the risk of immune suppression (which is required for such stem-cell derived islet transplants as they are 'foreign' to the recipient). The first patient, a 64-year-old man with type 1 diabetes for more than 40 years, now has a hemoglobin A1c in the normal range without taking any insulin more than 9 months after the procedure. The second, a 35-year-old woman with type 1 diabetes for 10.7 years, experienced a 30% reduction in insulin use and significant increased time spent in target glucose range, by 5 months post-transplant. Both patients were given just half the targeted VX-880 dose.
@sanai Transplantation of pancreatic islet cells obtained from cadavers have been shown to eliminate severe hypoglycemia and improve glycemic control in patients with type 1 diabetes, but they're limited in quantity and are of variable quality. Islets that are manufactured via differentiation from human pluripotent stem cells represent an alternative