The idea would be to intervene and repair any early damage during the honeymoon period many patients enjoy -- the first several months after diagnosis during which insulin needs are minimal, he added.
Our groups concept is that we wont be able to cure diabetes without a combination therapy approach, Haller said. Its nave to think that with one agent were going to reverse a very complicated disease like type 1 diabetes. We probably need to go at it with multiple drugs to attack the various facets of the disease. Curing type 1 diabetes may require a similar approach to treating AIDS or cancer. The care of patients with these complex diseases did not markedly improve until combination therapies were administered. I suspect it will be the same with diabetes.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the National Institutes of Health funded the study, with support from UFs Clinical Research Center. UF researchers next plan to enroll up to 23 patients who will receive cord blood infusions. They also will seek to improve on the small metabolic and immunologic advantages theyve noted so far, possibly by testing the addition of one of the many drugs currently being used in other type 1 diabetes trials.
We need to decide which agent will work well when combined with the cord blood, Haller said. Right now we are not manipulating the cells. We are simply infusing the cord blood. In addition to adding other drugs, we may need to see if we can take the key cells from cord blood and safely manipulate them to improve on our findings.
The application of human cord blood in the treatment of type 1 diabetes is of extreme importance, said Colin P. McGuckin, a professor of regenerative medicine at Britains University of Newcastle upon Tyne Medical School.
The work carried out in the University of Florida has led the field in showing that cord blood contains cells which
Contact: Melanie Fridl Ross
University of Florida