Current progress in stem cell therapy for type 1 diabetes mellitus

Shuai Chen, Kechen Du, Chunlin Zou
Stem Cell Research & Therapy 2020 July 8, 11 (1): 275
Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is the most common chronic autoimmune disease in young patients and is characterized by the loss of pancreatic β cells; as a result, the body becomes insulin deficient and hyperglycemic. Administration or injection of exogenous insulin cannot mimic the endogenous insulin secreted by a healthy pancreas. Pancreas and islet transplantation have emerged as promising treatments for reconstructing the normal regulation of blood glucose in T1DM patients. However, a critical shortage of pancreases and islets derived from human organ donors, complications associated with transplantations, high cost, and limited procedural availability remain bottlenecks in the widespread application of these strategies. Attempts have been directed to accommodate the increasing population of patients with T1DM. Stem cell therapy holds great potential for curing patients with T1DM. With the advent of research on stem cell therapy for various diseases, breakthroughs in stem cell-based therapy for T1DM have been reported. However, many unsolved issues need to be addressed before stem cell therapy will be clinically feasible for diabetic patients. In this review, we discuss the current research advances in strategies to obtain insulin-producing cells (IPCs) from different precursor cells and in stem cell-based therapies for diabetes.

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