Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases that causes a person to have high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood or, hyperglycemia. The two most common forms of diabetes are type 1 and type 2. Patients with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes mellitus is a life-long disease that requires daily insulin injections and can lead to other serious medical complications. 

Treatment at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute could help improve the following symptoms of type I diabetes:

  • excessive thirst
  • Frequent Urination
  • Excessive hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred Vision
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Irritability
  • Frequent infections
  • Slow healing sores (e.g. gum infections, vaginal infections)
  • Dizziness

Facts according to the World Health Organization (WHO):

  • In 2014, the number of people with diabetes was 422 million in 2014.
  • The global prevalence of diabetes among adults over 18 years of age has risen from 4.7% in 1980 to 8.5% in 2014.
  • Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.
  • In 2015, an estimated 1.6 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes. Another 2.2 million deaths were attributable to high blood glucose in 2012.

 What is type 1 diabetes?

 The incidence, of the chronic and devastating disease of type 1 diabetes, has been rising at a rapid rate.1 Approximately 10% of diabetes cases are type 1. Patients with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin but the cause is unknown. Normally the immune system produces antibodies which protect the body from foreign invaders such as; viruses, bacteria and germs. In patients with type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the healthy insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The result is little or no insulin to transport the sugar into cells.  Sugar builds up in the blood stream causing systemic damage. The symptoms of type 1 diabetes can present suddenly and at any age, but most patients with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed in early childhood or adolescence. Symptoms might include; excessive urination, thirst, constant hunger, unexplained weight loss, changes in vision, and fatigue.

Serious complications caused by type 1 diabetes2-4:

  • Organ damage including damage to the heart, kidneys, eyes, blood vessels and nerves
  • Heart attack and/or stroke
  • Foot ulcers, infection and limb amputation
  • Blindness
  • Kidney failure

Can stem cell therapy improve symptoms of type 1 diabetes?

Researchers have shown mesenchymal stem cells have the potential to treat many chronic diseases, including type 1 diabetes. Mesenchymal stem cells have the ability to differentiate, self-renew, suppress the immune system, reduce inflammation, and repair tissue. In type 1 diabetes, mesenchymal stem cells can help stop beta cell destruction and preserve beta cell function and mass.1,5

Autologous stem cells can modulate a patient’s immune system so that it no longer mistakenly attacks the beta cells.  Autologous stem cells can also repair damaged beta cells. The patient’s new beta cells will function appropriately, correctly control blood sugar levels. Preliminary results from one clinical trial showed the effect on the immune system by mesenchymal stem cells allowed beta cells to regenerate and improve glycemic control in patients with long-standing type 1 diabetes.6 After treatment, a patient will notice continuous improvement over time.

What type of stem cells are used?

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute uses autologous mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.  Autologous means the stem cells are collected from the recipient so the risk of rejection is virtually eliminated. Mesenchymal stem cells are one type of adult stem cells that are found in a variety of tissues including; adipose tissue, lung, bone marrow, and blood.  Mesenchymal stem cells have several advantages over other types of stem cells; ability to migrate to sites of tissue injury, strong immunosuppressive effect, and better safety after infusion.1,5 Mesenchymal stem cells are a promising treatment for diabetes mellitus. Treatment at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute may improve the symptoms and long-term complications of type 1 diabetes.

How are the stem cells collected?

A team of stem cell experts developed an FDA approved method and protocol for harvesting and isolating adipose derived stem cells for autologous reimplantation. The collection and use of adult stem cells does not require the destruction of embryos and for this reason, more U.S. federal funding is being spent on stem cell research.

How are the stem cells administered?

The stem cells are administered intravenously.

About the Stem Cells Transplant Institute

Costa Rica has one of the best healthcare systems in world and is ranked among the highest for medical tourism. Using the most advanced technologies, the team of experts at The Stem Cells Transplant Institute believes in the potential of stem cell therapy for the treatment of diabetes. We are committed to providing personalized service and the highest quality of care to every patient.



1 Ezquer et al., J Stem Cell Res Ther 2014, 4:8 Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy in Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus and Its Main Complications: From Experimental Findings to Clinical Practice. 2 Diabetes mellitus, fasting blood glucose concentration, and risk of vascular disease: a collaborative meta-analysis of 102 prospective studies. Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration. Sarwar N, Gao P, Seshasai SR, Gobin R, Kaptoge S, Di Angelantonio et al. Lancet. 2010; 26;375:2215-2222.3 Causes of vision loss worldwide, 1990-2010: a systematic analysis. Bourne RR, Stevens GA, White RA, Smith JL, Flaxman SR, Price H et al. Lancet Global Health 2013;1:e339-e349 4 2014 USRDS annual data report: Epidemiology of kidney disease in the United States. United States Renal Data System. National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, MD, 2014:188–210. 5 Concise Review: Mesenchymal Stem Cell Treatment of the Complications of Diabetes Mellitus. VLADISLAV VOLAREVIC STEM CELLS 2011;29:5–10 6. Zhao Y., New Hope for Diabetics: Adult Blood Stem Cells Can Make Insulin. Discovery Medicine.July, 28, 2009.

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