Diabetes-free Donors are Best Source of Stem Cells for Bone Repair in Type 1 Patients

Durham, NC – A groundbreaking study released today in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine shows that the gold standard for obtaining stem cells to use in transplantation therapy – harvesting them from the patient himself – is not the best way to go when attempting to regenerate bone in a person with type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is linked to low bone density, which greatly increases the risk of fractures. Researchers don’t know exactly why — it might be that insulin, which is deficient in the disease, promotes bone growth and strength – but all agree that finding a way to address this issue is important.

While stem cell-derived exosomes have exhibited promise for bone regeneration, identifying an appropriate source to obtain them has proven difficult. Yimin Chai, M.D., Ph.D., and his team at Shanghai Jiao Tong University Affiliated Sixth People’s Hospital have been researching this issue for some time. Their earlier studies revealed that exosomes (which are basically “taxis” that shuttle proteins and genetic information between cells) derived from different cell types exhibit different therapeutic effects. “It is therefore critical to carefully consider the biological characteristics of the cell of origin and use the appropriate source cells for therapeutic purposes,” Dr. Chai said.

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