Cord Blood May Help Kids With Diabetes
Study Shows Kids' Own Banked Cord Blood Slows Type 1 Diabetes
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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."
So far, the treatment is available only to children whose parents could
afford private cord blood banking. In the future, it may be possible to use
cord blood from other children. But for now, Schatz and Haller consider this
too risky. Even when tissue rejection isn't an issue, transplanted immune cells
sometimes attack their new host -- a life-threatening situation called
"Even though we have treated 11 patients with more on the way, we have
received 500 queries," Schatz says. "Parents say, 'I have a child with
diabetes and I am pregnant -- can I use the cord blood to treat the older
child?' But even with the closest matches you see some graft-versus-host
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