Gene and Stem Cell Therapy for Diabetes.
Calne RY, Ghoneim MA, Lee KO, Uin GS.
Clinical Transplants 2013, Chapter 12
Gene and stem cell therapy has been on the scientific agenda in many laboratories for more than 20 years. The literature is enormous, but practical applications have been few. Recently advances in stem cell biology and gene therapy are clarifying some of the issues. I have made a few observations concerning our own studies on bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells cultured to produce a small percentage of insulin-producing cells and human insulin gene engineered into Lenti and AA viruses. The aim of clinical application would still seem to be several years away, if all goes well. The first step will be to produce enough insulin-secreting cells to be of potential value to patients. The next crucial question will be how to persuade the cells to respond to blood glucose levels swiftly and appropriately. With both stem cell and gene therapy, another important factor will be to ensure that any positive results will continue long enough to be preferable to insulin injections.