The study was very small, and the procedure is not ready for widespread use. "We now have a unique approach with some positive findings, but it's still early. We need to better understand the biology behind the treatment and follow patients for long-term side effects," Robert E. Ratner, MD, chief scientific and medical officer of the American Diabetes Association, tells WebMD.
This is the latest of several stem cell studies to show promising results for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.
In the new study, 15 of 28 teens with type 1 diabetes who got an experimental treatment using their own stem cells went into remission and did not need insulin injections for an average of about 1.5 years.
The "Cocktail Treatment" combines stem cell therapy with drugs that suppress the body's immune system. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells within the pancreas.