Diabetic Perspectives

Rev Diabet Stud, 2005, 2(4):228-234 DOI 10.1900/RDS.2005.2.228

The Application of Umbilical Cord Blood Cells in the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus

Tomas Koblas1, S. Mitchell Harman2, Frantisek Saudek1

1Laboratory of Pancreatic Islets, Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Cell Therapy and Tissue Repair, Prague, Czech Republic.
2Kronos Longevity Research Institute, Phoenix, AZ, USA.
Address correspondence to: Frantisek Saudek, e-mail: frantisek.saudek@medicon.cz.

Keywords: diabetes, umbilical cord blood, differentiation, β-cells

Abstract

In recent years, human umbilical cord blood (HUCB) has emerged as an attractive tool for cell-based therapy. Although at present the clinical application of HUCB is limited to the fields of hematology and oncology, a rising number of studies show potential for further application in the treatment of non-hematopoietic diseases. HUCB, with its real abundance, simple collection procedure and no serious ethical dilemmas, represents a valuable alternative to the use of other stem cell sources. The aim of this article is to review the literature on HUCB and to assess its eventual usability in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. This review presents some recent reports concerning pancreatic endocrine stem cells and their identification, HUCB stem cells and their advantages and, finally, the potential for converting HUCB-derived stem cells into insulin-producing β-cells.

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