Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is one of the major autoimmune diseases affecting children and young adults worldwide. To date, the different immunotherapies tested have achieved insulin independence in <5% of treated individuals. Recently, a novel hematopoietic stem cell (HSC)–based strategy has been tested in individuals with new-onset T1D. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of autologous nonmyeloablative HSC transplantation in 65 individuals with new-onset T1D who were enrolled in two Chinese centers and one Polish center, pooled, and followed up for 48 months. A total of 59% of individuals with T1D achieved insulin independence within the first 6 months after receiving conditioning immunosuppression therapy (with antithymocyte globulin and cyclophosphamide) and a single infusion of autologous HSCs, and 32% remained insulin independent at the last time point of their follow-up. All treated subjects showed a decrease in HbA1c levels and an increase in C-peptide levels compared with pretreatment. Despite a complete immune system recovery (i.e., leukocyte count) after treatment, 52% of treated individuals experienced adverse effects. Our study suggests the following: 1) that remission of T1D is possible by combining HSC transplantation and immunosuppression; 2) that autologous nonmyeloablative HSC transplantation represents an effective treatment for selected individuals with T1D; and 3) that safer HSC-based therapeutic options are required.
- Received February 20, 2014.
- Accepted April 8, 2014.
- © 2014 by the American Diabetes Association.
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