Targeting insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes via immune modulation of cord blood-derived multipotent stem cells (CB-SCs) in stem cell educator therapy: phase I/II clinical trial
Fisk, Mary Beth
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Background: The prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is increasing worldwide and creating a significant burden on health systems, highlighting the need for the development of innovative therapeutic approaches to overcome immune dysfunction, which is likely a key factor in the development of insulin resistance in T2D. It suggests that immune modulation may be a useful tool in treating the disease. Methods: In an open-label, phase 1/phase 2 study, patients (N = 36) with long-standing T2D were divided into three groups (Group A, oral medications, n = 18; Group B, oral medications + insulin injections, n = 11; Group C having impaired beta-cell function with oral medications + insulin injections, n = 7). All patients received one treatment with the Stem Cell Educator therapy in which a patient's blood is circulated through a closed-loop system that separates mononuclear cells from the whole blood, briefly co-cultures them with adherent cord blood-derived multipotent stem cells (CB-SCs), and returns the educated autologous cells to the patient's circulation. Results: Clinical findings indicate that T2D patients achieve improved metabolic control and reduced inflammation markers after receiving Stem Cell Educator therapy. Median glycated hemoglobin (HbA(1)C) in Group A and B was significantly reduced from 8.61% +/- 1.12 at baseline to 7.25% +/- 0.58 at 12 weeks (P = 2.62E-06), and 7.33% +/- 1.02 at one year post-treatment (P = 0.0002). Homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) demonstrated that insulin sensitivity was improved post-treatment. Notably, the islet beta-cell function in Group C subjects was markedly recovered, as demonstrated by the restoration of C-peptide levels. Mechanistic studies revealed that Stem Cell Educator therapy reverses immune dysfunctions through immune modulation on monocytes and balancing Th1/Th2/Th3 cytokine production. Conclusions: Clinical data from the current phase 1/phase 2 study demonstrate that Stem Cell Educator therapy is a safe approach that produces lasting improvement in metabolic control for individuals with moderate or severe T2D who receive a single treatment. In addition, this approach does not appear to have the safety and ethical concerns associated with conventional stem cell-based approaches.