Buffy coat transfusions in early type I diabetes
Fresh whole-blood buffy coats from American Red Cross volunteers were used to treat early type I diabetes. Attempts were made to adapt to human diabetic patients a protocol successfully used in prediabetic BB rats. Twenty-two type I diabetic patients (duration of disease less than 4 wk) were randomized to treatment or control groups; the treatment patients were given one buffy coat (approximately 0.6 X 10(9) T-lymphocytes) weekly for 5 wk. Plasma C-peptide (stimulated and unstimulated), insulin dose, and hemoglobin A1c were measured before and periodically after the treatment for 24 wk. The control group underwent the same studies. Although there were no significant differences for the parameters studied between the two groups, 2 of 12 patients in the treatment group underwent three complete (normal glycemia without insulin) temporary remissions. One of these patients was given a second course of transfusions after relapse from the first remission and developed a second complete remission that lasted 2 mo. No control patient had remissions during the 24-wk study. Although the future of adoptive immunotherapy in the treatment or prevention of diabetes is not known, several probable limitations of the current protocol, as discussed here, can explain the differences in results between this trial and the rodent studies.