A step forward in the fight against diabetes comes from the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan. Scientists at the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) of the institute have rebuilt, for the first time in the world, some of the functions of the pancreas in the bone marrow of patients suffering from diabetes type 3c. The study, conducted in 4 patients and just published in Diabetes, has been possible thanks to the green light by the National Transplant Center and the support of research programs of the European Community and the Ministry of Education.
The researchers recovered endocrine cells from the pancreas of patients who had been removed the organ. These are the cells that have the task of producing the hormones essential for the proper functioning of the organism, including also the insulin. With cells taken, scientists have reconstructed the functions of the pancreas in the bone marrow of the same patients. In this way, explain, it was possible to obtain a sort of ‘organ puzzle’. The endocrine tissue implanted in the bone of 4 patients took root and it worked, after an observation period of almost 3 years.
Diabetes Type 3c – the state of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan – affects patients who are surgically removed the pancreas and losing the functions performed by the body. The most important is the regulation of glucose metabolism that depends on the production of hormones such as insulin and glucagon. The consequences for the patient are a worse quality of life and the risk of complications, even serious ones, such as hypoglycemic coma. Hence the importance of a technique such as the one tested successfully in Milan, which would effectively prevent the onset of diabetes 3c.
According to the team of researchers, they result it is important for the world of medicine. “The approach used in these patients is innovative and demonstrates for the first time – said Lorenzo Piemonti, program manager of islet transplantation and the Unity of the biology of beta cells to Dri IRCCS San Raffaele – that it is possible for a non-hematopoietic tissue, and in this case endocrine, survive and function in a very particular environment such as that of the bone marrow where stem cells normally live mainly dedicated to the creation of the blood. It is a remarkable achievement and could open in general unexpected scenarios in the field of regenerative medicine. ”
“Normally, in clinical practice – continues Fabio Ciceri, Head of Unit hematology and stem cell transplant program – up to now the bone marrow was used to receive transplants of hematopoietic stem cells in patients with diseases such as leukemia. It ‘amazing to see how in Actually this environment is able to accommodate other types of tissues. ”
“Preventing the onset of diabetes after surgery with the use of autologous tissue is an innovative concept that offers a new therapeutic approach to patients with diseases of the pancreas,” say Gianpaolo Balzano and Paola Maffei, first author of the study and responsible, respectively , Unit pancreatic surgery and transplant units islands.