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Scientists Use Fat Stem Cells To Prevent Diabetic Blindness

Blindness caused by diabetic retinopathy could be prevented – and injecting adult stem cells into patients' eyes could become the major treatment for it in the future. The recent research by scientists from the University of Virginia School of Medicine shows that stem cells taken from non-diabetics are more promising than cells taken from patients' own bodies.

The doctors hope to prevent blindness among patients with diabetic retinopathy using fat-derived stem cells – the cells that are harvested in liposuction procedures. The doctors plan to use fat stem cells from healthy donors in the hope that they would work better compared to patients' own fat stem cells, as the latter become damaged by diabetes. The team plans to launch clinical trials on humans within the next few years.

About 100 million patients suffer from diabetic retinopathy worldwide. It occurs as a result of altering of retinal blood vessels that happens as blood glucose levels increase. The treatments currently available for the disease include laser surgery or regular injections into patients' eyeballs that are performed usually monthly for the rest of their lives. Thus, development of stem cell treatments could establish a crucial milestone in treating diabetic retinopathy.

Stem cell treatment could also prove an effective treatment for diabetic neuropathy. Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine plan to use mesenchymal stem cells derived from the bone marrow to treat the condition, and if the trials prove successful, this could become a turning point a diabetes curative treatment.

Fetal stem cells treatment results depend on: disease's severity, age of the patient, adherence for the medications and regime. Treatment results, presented on this site, are individual for each clinical case.