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Researchers at Vinmec Research Institute of Stem Cell and Gene Technology in Hanoi, Vietnam, conducted a randomized clinical trial examining the safety and therapeutic potential of autologous bone marrow stem cells, finding that non-obese patients who have had the disease for less than a decade are most likely to benefit from the treatment. 

The study enrolled 30 adult patients across a range of body mass indexes and diabetes histories, and re-examined them at one-month, three-month, six-month and one-year intervals. 

“Our patients tolerated the procedure well and showed short-term reductions in their blood glucose levels after the treatment,” stated Liem Nguyen, the institute’s research director.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90% of all diabetes cases, often leading to disability or death, and affects around 420 million people worldwide. Patients’ bodies are unable to make good of insulin produced, and while a healthy lifestyle can effect improvements for some, many have to take insulin or drugs to manage blood glucose levels. 

The study classified patients into three groups based on medications they had been taking – only insulin, only drugs, or both insulin and drugs. Following the treatment, over half of the patients were able to reduce the dosage of their diabetes medications. 

Due to their vital function in the body’s immune response and their ability to transform into connective tissue cells in any organ, bone marrow stromal stem cells have been a versatile cell source in regenerative medicine. 

“Our trial, the first to link the outcomes of autologous bone marrow stromal stem cell transplantation with body mass index and Type 2 diabetes duration, shows the procedure is safe and opens the way for other clinical trials exploring the potential benefits of this treatment in non-obese patients who have had the disorder less than 10 years,” Nguyen said.

(Source: Stem Cells Portal, 3rd June 2021)