.- Brazilian media outlets are reporting that a study using adult stem cells to cure “type one” diabetes has been put on hold for two years by the country’s Ministry of Health department.
According to pro-life sources, lobbyists who support the use of embryonic stem cells are blocking what could be successful research with adult stem cells. The newspaper Gazeta de Ribeirao reported that the study is being paralyzed by the Commission on Ethics in Research for the Ministry of Health in Brasilia, which has not yet granted approval for the research.
The research would be carried out by experts at the University of Sao Paulo.
According to one of the researchers, endocrinologist Carlos Eduardo Barra Couri, the procedure doctors want to try is revolutionary, economical and more comfortable for type 1 diabetes patients. The treatment is based on the use of adult stem cells, not embryonic stem cells, and is designed to regenerate the pancreas and prevent auto-immune rejection.
“It’s a shame that it takes so long to approve an experiment as important as this one. The lives of many people could be changed,” Couri said.
Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo are currently using a treatment using adult stem cells which eliminates the use of insulin, but it requires chemotherapy, thus weakening the patient’s immune system and making him or her vulnerable to sickness.
Patients also suffer all of the normal side effects of chemotherapy, including hair loss, vomiting and weakness. It can only be used on patients under the age of 12 who have been suffering from diabetes for at least 42 days.
Data from Brazil’s Ministry of Health indicates that every 10 seconds someone in Brazil dies as a consequence of diabetes, and that every 10 seconds 6 more people acquire the disease.