Irish effort explores stem cell treatments for diabetic complications

Researchers in Ireland will pursue preclinical trials to see whether stem cells derived from bone marrow can be used to treat a whole slew of diabetes-related complications. The hope is that they could successfully treat everything from eye, heart, kidney and bone damage to diabetes ulcers, the Irish Times reports.

The National University of Ireland, Galway will lead the $7.6 million European Union-funded Reddstar project (Repair of Diabetic Damage by Stromal Cell Administration), according to the story, and it pulls in an Irish startup with a crucial ingredient for the work. Scientists plan to use an adult stem-cell population developed by Orbsen Therapeutics. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree here: Orbsen is a spinoff of NUI Galway's Regenerative Medicine Institute, which itself is funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

First, the research team will develop ways to grow the stem cells they'll be using in a trial-friendly way. Next, they'll lead efforts to test the stem cells preclinically on various diabetic complications at centers in Ireland and Germany. Based on those results, they'll advance testing of a specific complication to human trials.

In all, funding for the project will be spread out over three years, according to the story.

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