Cord Blood May Help Kids With Diabetes
Study Shows Kids' Own Banked Cord Blood Slows Type 1 Diabetes
WebMD News Archive
Cord Blood Not a Type 1 Diabetes Cure continued...
Unlike cord-blood treatment for life-threatening autoimmune disease and
cancer, where harsh and risky chemicals are used to kill off existing immune
cells or cancer cells, the diabetes treatment is a simple infusion of cord
That is likely to change as researchers become more confident in the
technique -- and start looking for ways to get the immune system to become more
tolerant of insulin-producing cells.
"We ultimately will have to add immune suppression," Schatz says.
"The solution to reversing diabetes will require a cocktail approach. It
will require a way of achieving tolerance, of restoring regenerative cells, and
then giving enough cells back to reverse the process. Until we move to that era
the progress will be slow."
Why not try that now? Schatz says that type 1 diabetes may eventually have
devastating effects, but with insulin treatment, it is not an immediate threat
to the life of a child.
"Diabetes is not cancer. It is not OK to have a mortality rate of 3%,
which does occur with many of these transplants," he says. "We are very
confident that some of these studies may come to fruition. But for now, from
our perspective, the dictum of 'first, do no harm' has to be premium."
Parent Sparked Cord-Blood Treatment
Schatz says it wasn't his idea to start treating child diabetes with banked
cord blood. The idea came from a parent.
"I received a call from a gentleman in Orlando," Schatz says. The
man said he was the father of a child with diabetes, and began asking
sophisticated questions about the use of experimental treatments.
Thinking he was a fellow scientist, Schatz asked about the man's
"He said he was a financier, and offered to buy my time," Schatz
recalls. "Of course I offered to meet him without charge. We spoke for two
hours. And then he said that because he could afford it, he'd banked his
child's blood. He said, 'I want you to use it to treat my 3-year-old.' That is
how we got started."