Stem cells in study against type 1 diabetes in children

Cellaviva Danmark - November 18, 2020

Press release from Uppsala University Hospital, 13.11.2020 08:15:00 CET

Next year, a study will begin, led by Uppsala University Hospital, where cell therapy in children with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes will be tried for the first time.

A recent clinical study has shown that treatment with cell therapy can preserve insulin production in adult type-1 diabetes diagnosed within the last two years. Next year, the studies are planned to be expanded and for the first time also include children and adolescents who have recently been diagnosed. This is announced on the occasion of World Diabetes Day on 14 November.

“The results of this cell therapy are very promising and it has now been shown to be effective in type 1 diabetes in a randomized, placebo-controlled study in adults. We hope to see the same positive effect in children”, says Per-Ola Carlsson, chief physician and professor at Uppsala University Hospital/ Uppsala University who is the principal investigator for the current drug studies.

The cell therapy drug consists of carefully selected mesenchymal stem cells from the umbilical cord. Mesenchymal stem cells are cells that can form several different types of connective tissue cells, but which have also been shown to have a unique ability to suppress immune attacks. They have therefore previously been tested in a number of clinical studies, both in children adults to, for example, prevent organ rejection after transplantation.

“In type 1 diabetes, the insulin-producing cells are destroyed in an immune attack, which has made stem cell treatment interesting to evaluate for this disease as well,” explains Per-Ola Carlsson.

One of the studies, in which Per-Ola Carlsson was the principal investigator, included 15 adult patients with recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes who received either a dose of cell therapy or placebo. The purpose was to study whether stem cell therapy could protect the remaining insulin-producing cells and thus preserve its own insulin production.

A follow-up made one year after the treatment showed that those who received the treatment had a significant effect on maintaining their own insulin production. Two out of nine patients treated had even increased their insulin production after one year.

“In the light of these results, we examine the treatment effects over time and also in a separate study the effect of repeated treatment after one year. Next year, we also plan to start a multinational phase 3 study on adults with recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes, as well as a study on children and adolescents with recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes. It will be the first study with this cell therapy drug where children are also included,” says Per-Ola Carlsson.

The latter study is planned to include several university clinics in Sweden and is led by Uppsala University Hospital. The layout is similar to what has been tried on the adult side. Children and adolescents who have developed type 1 diabetes in the past six months are offered to participate in the study where the effect of the drug treatment is compared with placebo and an evaluation takes place one year after the treatment.



This is a press release from Uppsala University Hospital, for more information / interview, contact:
Per-Ola Carlsson, Chief Physician and Professor of diabetes diseases at Uppsala University Hospital/Uppsala University tel: +46 18-611 41 23 or +46 70-272 11 67, email:
Photo: Johan Alp