Objective: Interest continues to grow regarding the therapeutic potential for umbilical cord blood therapies to modulate autoimmune disease. We conducted an open-label phase I study using autologous umbilical cord blood infusion to ameliorate type 1 diabetes.
Research design and methods: Fifteen patients diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and for whom autologous umbilical cord blood was stored underwent a single intravenous infusion of autologous cells and completed 1 year of postinfusion follow-up. Intensive insulin regimens were used to optimize glycemic control. Metabolic and immunologic assessments were performed before infusion and at established time periods thereafter.
Results: Median (interquartile range [IQR]) age at infusion was 5.25 (3.1-7.3) years, with a median postdiagnosis time to infusion of 17.7 (10.9-26.5) weeks. No infusion-related adverse events were observed. Metabolic indexes 1 year postinfusion were peak C-peptide median 0.50 ng/ml (IQR 0.26-1.30), P = 0.002; A1C 7.0% (IQR 6.5-7.7), P = 0.97; and insulin dose 0.67 units * kg(-1) * day(-1) (IQR 0.55-0.77), P = 0.009. One year postinfusion, no changes were observed in autoantibody titers, regulatory T-cell numbers, CD4-to-CD8 ratio, or other T-cell phenotypes.
Conclusions: Autologous umbilical cord blood transfusion in children with type 1 diabetes is safe but has yet to demonstrate efficacy in preserving C-peptide. Larger randomized studies as well as 2-year postinfusion follow-up of this cohort are needed to determine whether autologous cord blood-based approaches can be used to slow the decline of endogenous insulin production in children with type 1 diabetes.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00305344.