Stem cell therapy for patients with diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of metabolomics-based risks and benefits

Fakher Rahim, Babak Arjmand, Kiarash Shirbandi, Moloud Payab, Bagher Larijani


Background: There is a general agreement that to ensure promising results of stem cell therapy in patients with diabetes, one must first understand its risks and benefits; thus, if the risk is sufficiently low along with many benefits, it can lead to developing a novel therapeutic approach based on sound science.
Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed using all available clinical trials to determine the benefits and risks associated with stem cell therapy in patients with diabetes (both T1DM and T2DM). An extensive search was conducted across several databases using all MeSH words regarding stem cell therapy and diabetes.
Results: In T2DM, a large body of research has shown that stem cell therapy has improved the insulin daily requirement and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C) levels, and also has a positive effect on these variables, but has a negative impact on c-peptide. Hence, in T1DM, stem cell therapy improves c-peptide and HbA1C levels and has a positive effect on these variables, but has a negative impact on insulin daily requirement.
Conclusions: A total of 639 cells have the ability to self-renew and differentiate into a variety of cells, including blood, heart, nervous and cartilage cells. Paradoxically, it has been stated that these cells also have the potential to form cancer cells. These possible risks warrant caution by both medical specialists and patients while proceeding with the treatment; thus, it is critically crucial to conduct further research on stem cell therapy but with first considering their risk and benefits.