Recorded Webinar with Dr. Maria Craig: Cord Blood: Can it Prevent or Cure Type 1 Diabetes?

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Watch the recorded webinar to hear Dr. Maria Craig, professor of paediatric endocrinology, the University of Sydney and Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, discuss a world-first study, the CoRD study, and its help in understanding more about the immune system in children at risk of developing type 1 diabetes as well as the potential for preventing this disease.

 Webinar Summary

Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood, affecting around 1 in 500 children. Type 1 diabetes results from destruction of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas by the body’s immune system. It appears that there is an imbalance between certain types of immune cells and ‘good’ immune cells called regulatory T cells, which are important in controlling the immune system.

Cord blood contains a diverse mixture of cells. It is a particularly rich source of stem cells that have the ability to develop into many different blood cell types, creating the blood and immune system. Cord blood is also a source of other types of stem cells as well regulatory T-cells, which may have potential for treating immune disorders. Due to their flexibility and diversity, the cells found in cord blood may be effective in the treatment of many other diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy.

In Australia, we are undertaking a world-first study, the CoRD study, to assess whether the unique cells found in cord blood can actually stop the immune destruction in the pancreas and protect a child from developing the disease. The study is aimed at high-risk children (those who have a close relative with type 1 diabetes) who have their cord blood stored in a cord blood bank. The pilot study involves two phases:

  • Screening – in which a child is tested for diabetes autoantibodies (early markers of diabetes
  • Treatment and follow-up – where eligible children who are at very high risk of developing diabetes receive an infusion of their own cord blood and then are followed up.

We believe the study will help us to understand more about the immune system in children at risk of developing diabetes and may actually help find ways to prevent this lifelong disease. The study is being funded by a grant from Australia’s largest private cord blood bank, Cell Care Australia.

You Will Learn:

  • How type 1 diabetes develops in children and adolescents
  • About the many potential uses of cord blood
  • How cord blood may prevent type 1 diabetes
  • How stem cells may lead to prevention or cure of type 1 diabetes

Maria E. Craig, MBBS, PhD, FRACP, MMed (ClinEpid), discusses the CoRD study and more about the immune system in children at risk of developing type 1 diabetes and potential for preventing this lifelong disease.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Maria E. Craig is a paediatric endocrinologist at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney, Australia and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) practitioner fellow. She is a professor of paediatric endocrinology at the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales and is academic co-director of the University of Sydney Charles Perkins Centre-Westmead.

Dr. Craig combines her clinical work as a diabetes specialist for children and adolescents with her research program in childhood diabetes for the purpose of understanding the disease’s causes and to prevent its occurrence. She is principal investigator for CoRD—a world-first trial using autologous cord blood to prevent type 1 diabetes—and the ENDIA study (Environmental Determinants of Islet Autoimmunity)—an Australian study of pregnancy to early life. Dr. Craig has authored more than 180 research papers, chapters, and guidelines. She was an editor for the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) clinical care guidelines (2014) and the Australian NHMRC evidence-based type 1 diabetes guidelines (2011).



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