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RE: Diabetes Breakthrough


Quite right, Mona. This study essentially treated diabetes using techniques developed for cancer treatment (chemotherapy followed by bone marrow stem cell treatments to regenerate the immune system). So the adult stem cells used were not replacing pancreatic islet cells, but rather immune cells that had been eliminated. As I noted below, it’s also a very small study (about 15 patients), which means there’s work to be done before we know its full implications. But these preliminary results are promising, and the technique is an innovative way to think about diabetes treatment. More than showing again the utility of adult stem cells (which we’ve long known can be helpful in regenerating white blood cells) it shows that cell replacement is not the only way to think about a path to curing type I diabetes, whatever Senator Harkin might think.


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