Weekly reads: Vertex stem cells for diabetes update, new CRISPR , immortality

Where do things stand with the investigative approach of stem cells for diabetes?

stem cell therapy for diabetes
Regenerative and stem cells for diabetes. “Comparison and advancement of subcutaneous insulin delivery, islet cell transplant, and novel inducible pluripotent stem cell-based islet cell transplant for cure of diabetes” FIg. 4 Verhoeff et al Cells 2021.

33% of Type 1 Diabetes Patients Insulin-Free With Stem Cells, Medscape. Not the best headline given the few number of participants here.

If your study has only two subjects and one responds, someone is going to say, “50% of people had a positive reaction?”

Vertex has acquired two of the top cell therapy research firms in the diabetes space. It’s early days and few trial participants so far, but here’s the update in a nutshell:

“Two of the six are insulin-independent beyond 1 year after receiving the VX-880 infusions, and three others who received them more recently are on a similar trajectory. One dropped out because of reasons unrelated to the therapy”

There are no indications of safety problems.

At this early point, this initial report is very encouraging but it’s just one step forward so far. I do think there is real hope here, but media should be careful in how they cover things. It wasn’t so long ago that the NYT messed up with a “cure” headline on this line of research too.

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