Risks, benefits, and therapeutic potential of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for autoimmune diabetes

Curr Diab Rep. 2012 Oct;12(5):604-11. doi: 10.1007/s11892-012-0309-0.


Type 1 diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease that results from the autoimmune response against pancreatic insulin producing β cells. Apart of several insulin regimens, since the decade of 80s various immunomodulatory regimens were tested aiming at blocking some steps of the autoimmune process against β cell mass and at promoting β cell preservation. In the last years, some independent research groups tried to cure type 1 diabetes with an "immunologic reset" provided by autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in newly diagnosed patients, and the majority of patients became free form insulin with increasing levels of C-peptide along the time. In this review, we discuss the biology of hematopoietic stem cells and the possible advantages and disadvantages related to the high dose immunosuppression followed by autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmunity
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Humans