Researchers from the Northwestern University developed a risky treatment for Diabetes type 1 sufferers, who were able to throw away their insulin shots after undergoing the treatment.

Stem cell transplant, as the treatment is called, allowed 14 out of 15 Brazilian patients to go insulin-free.

All the patients, aged 14 to 31, received the treatment within six weeks of being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. This is the first treatment that enabled Type 1 diabetics to go without insulin or other drugs.

Stem cell transplant is designed to fix the faulty immune system that started attacking its own insulin-producing cells that lead to the disease.
The procedure starts by doctors removing stem cells from the patient's blood and freezing them in liquid nitrogen. Before they are thawed, the patients undergo high-dose chemotherapy to destroy the malfunctioning immune-system cells. When the thawed stem cells are returned to the patients, they turn into healthy immune cells. The whole procedure costs between $80,000 and $100,000 and is currently used only in life-threatening diseases such as cancer.

The stem cell transplants could be used as a powerful tool for curing diabetes type 1 but due to its risks, it is still not known if the trials would be approved in the US.

Since the patients have only been followed from 7 to 36 months, it is still not clear whether the treatment is a permanent cure, or just a temporary fix.

It's also unclear whether the treatment is a permanent cure, or just a temporary fix that would enable diabetes to eventually return, the foundation said.