Woman Not Diabetic After Cell Transplant

    12 September, 2015

    A diabetic woman no longer needs to take daily medicine after she received a stem cell transplant.

    The daily insulin injection had helped control the amount of sugar -- or glucose -- in her blood. Wendy Peacock was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 17, according to the Miami Herald newpaper.

    Ms. Peacock, who is now 43, received the stem cells in mid-August in a "minimally invasive procedure" at the University of Miami-Miller School of Medicine in Florida. Doctors called the operation simple and said Ms. Peacock recovered quickly.

    After the operation, her body started producing insulin naturally.

    Wendy Peacock (C) with the team of doctors at University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine.
    Wendy Peacock (C) with the team of doctors at University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine.

    Ms. Peacock "is now completely off insulin," one of her doctors said.

    "These are the best ... results we've seen," said Dr. Camillo Ricordi, director of the Cell Transplant Center at the Diabetes Research Center in Florida.

    "If these results can be confirmed, this can be the beginning of a new era in ... transplantation," said Dr. Ricordi. If other doctors study the results and confirm the outcome, the procedure could become available to other diabetics.

    Ms. Peacock says her life has changed dramatically as a result of the operation. Before the operation, Ms. Peacock was unable to sense when her blood glucose dropped dangerously. Low glucose can make a person confused or unconscious. It may even lead to death.

    Now she does not need to monitor her blood glucose. "As any type 1 knows, you live on a very structured schedule," Ms. Peacock explained. "I do a mental checklist every day in my head ... glucose tabs, food, glucometer, etc., and then I stop and say, 'WOW! I don't have to plan that anymore.' "

    Asians will find the medical news encouraging. Studies have shown that Asians are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, when compared with people of European ancestry. That's according to the Asian Diabetes Prevention Initiative at Harvard University in Massachusetts.

    Asian populations have fewer overweight and obese people than people in the West. But they have a higher percentage of people with diabetes. Currently, 60 percent of the world's diabetic population is Asian, according to the Initiative's website.

    I'm Kelly Jean Kelly.

    Kathleen Struck edited the story.

    Do you rely on daily shots of insulin for diabetes? How would this procedure change your life? Share your story in the Comments section and on our Facebook page.


    Words in This Story

    stem cell - n. a simple cell in the body that is able to develop into any one of various kinds of cells, such as blood cells or skin cells

    insulin - n. a substance that your body makes and uses to turn sugar into energy

    injection - n. the act or process of forcing a liquid medicine or drug into someone or something by using a special needle