Stem cells successfully treat diabetes associated with cancer therapy

May 10, 2022
Stem cells successfully treat diabetes associated with cancer therapy

Cancer immunotherapies employ the use of immune checkpoint inhibitors which may include unwanted side effects such as type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease characterised by insufficient insulin secretion – strategies for preventing or curing type 1 diabetes are still lacking. Researchers from Osaka University in Japan have found using stem cells can modulate the adverse immune-related effects of cancer therapy.

It was found that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), derived from human adipose/fat cells, prevented the influx of immune cells to the pancreas thereby avoiding disruption to insulin production. In experiments, there was only 19% incidence of type 1 diabetes in a small group of mice treated with MSCs, compared to 64% incidence in untreated mice.

Further experiments showed that MSCs secreted factors (such as exosomes) that protected pancreatic cells against immune attack.

Of course, the treatment is still a long way off ever being used in humans – larger studies need to be conducted to investigate the potential for MSCs to help prevent type 1 diabetes induced by immune checkpoint inhibition.

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Category: Education, Features

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