Can Stem Cell Therapy treat patients with Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic condition wherein the body does not produce effective insulin enough (a hormone excreted by the pancreas) to convert glucose from the blood into energy. Today, new advances in stem cell research and treatment are giving new hope to people affected by this chronic disease. Current Stem Cell Treatments are being considered for their efficacy in improving blood sugar levels and the complications in which patients with Type I and Type II Diabetes experience.

What are the stem cell treatments used today?

The stem cells collected from a patient may have the potential to replace countless cells of the body, including insulin producing cells. These undifferentiated cells help heal the body by replacing ones afflicted with the disease by renewing new cells.

Most Stem Cell Centers like SCT Austria use the Autologous Stem Cell Transplant. Georg S. Kobinia’s  method involves the collection of stem cell from the patient’s own bone marrow or blood. The undifferentiated cells (from the patient’s bone marrow) which other cell types develop are collected, stored, and later administered again to the same patient. After collating the bone marrow in the operating room (OR), it is centrifuged and filtered in the same OR using a "closed system". The time between the collection of the bone marrow and the administration (direct injection) of the stem cells into the tail of pancreas is strictly minimized to only a few hours.

Other centers that employ the Autologous Stem Cell approach are Regentime, Progencell and Swiss Medica. Regentime in Beirut, Lebanon. Dr.Nassim Abi Chahineuses only autologous adult bone marrow stem cells collected from the patient. Although the center customizes the procedure according to the patient's needs, the standard procedure usually takes up to 5 days to complete. Autologous growth factors are injected to the patient as well as bone marrow collection and transplantation is achieved. And on the last day, rest is advised and follow up care is performed.

Progencell-Stem Cell Therapies, Tijuana, Mexico uses autologous adult stem cells which are derived from adipose (fat) tissue or bone marrow or a combination of both. Progencell uses different protocols for numerous diseases and among the best results reported by their patients is the Stem Cell Protocol for Diabetes. Further, in Swiss Medica Chronic Diseases Treatment Clinic, Lugano, Switzerland, the autologous stem cell approach is preferred using adipose (fat) tissues from the patient. Swiss Medica only uses autologous cells because they believe these cells possess a higher therapeutic potential. Once the cells are activated, they are reinjected to the patient which can take several hours without enhancing them with substances.

PlacidKorea-Ascle InterMed, Seoul, South Korea  uses both Autologous and Allogenic Stem Cell Transplant methods. Aside from using the patient's own stem cells, they also utilize the therapeutic advantages of using a donor's stem cells for their stem cell treatments.

On the other hand, ASCT Treatment from Australia uses a different approach to stem cell therapy which they call Autologous Multi-Lineage Potential Cell (AMPC). Although, the stem cells used here are still collected from the patient, AMPCs don’t require genetic engineering or manipulation. Instead of the patient’s bone marrow, the peripheral blood is collected (similar to a blood donation) goes thru a separation process to gather the white blood cells (WBCs) which will become AMPC cells. Then, the cells will be reinfused intravenously for 2 hours. The advantage of these cells is that they can produce the highest differentiation capability and stem cell count.

Probably, the most unique stem cell therapy approach is practiced by Juventas Revitalization Clinic in Germany. Aside from the 10 intramuscular injection of stem cells, Dr. Shams Scheik includes intravenous laser revitalization, ozone & oxygen therapy, laser scanning, and orthomolecular injections to improve the overall condition of his diabetic patients. 

Best Candidates for Stem Cell Treatment

The best candidates for stem cell therapy for diabetes include men and women who are obese or overweight with either type 1 or type II Diabetes. Also are those who have been diabetics for not more than 20 years and are on are on prescribed insulin medications or blood sugar lowering drugs such as metformin. Good candidates also include patients who are not responding to insulin or drug therapy for diabetes.

Benefits of Stem Cell Treatment for Diabetes

The goal of stem cell therapy is to improve the symptoms experienced by diabetics. After stem cell treatment research revealed that patients have improved glycemic control, show a significant decline in insulin requirement and have greater energy levels. Other patients report weight loss of 5-8 kilos within 2 months, and improvement of diabetes symptoms such as fatigue, excess thirst, urinary infection, blurred vision, pain and numbness in hands and feet, and slow healing of wounds. There is also reduction of complications associated with diabetes such as kidney failure, heart attack, blindness and stroke.

Further, the advantages of stem cell therapy for diabetes include:

  • Positive results of therapy are felt after 2-4 months depending on the condition and severity.
  • Treatment lasts at least 33 months.
  • Most centers use autologous adult stem cell that’s why there is lesser risk of adverse reaction or rejection.
  • Clinics practice sterility and a closed system technique in its collection and reinfusion.

Cost of Stem Cell Treatment for Diabetes

The cost of stem cell treatment from the clinics mentioned may range from $9,000 to $25,000.

Stem cell centers such as Progencell-Stem Cell Therapies, Tijuana, Mexico charge $9,000 for their Stem Cell Protocol for Diabetes. Meanwhile, Regentime in Beirut, Lebanon charge an average of $12,000. Their package already includes a case study, pre-operative care, bone marrow collection, lab works, transplantation and post-operative care.

On the other hand the cost of stem cell therapy for Type 1 Diabetes at SCT Austria is $21,445 while it is $21,445 – $24,509 for treating Type 2 Diabetes. Both packages include medical evaluation, lab works, doctors’ consultations, stem cell procedure, transportation assistance, medications, accommodation for 3 nights for 2 persons with partner hotels, translator assistance as well as administrative efforts from the clinic. 

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