Lucy Hinchion, aged 20 months, is the youngest person in the world to have her umbilical cord blood reinfused. Her umbilical cord blood was stored to help treat her sister’s type 1 diabetes and received it after showing signs of the disease herself.
This operation is part of a five-year study at The Children’s Hospital in Sydney, with researchers hoping that stored umbilical cord blood could become a groundbreaking type 1 diabetes treatment. The cells found in umbilical cord blood – unique immune cells called regulatory T-cells, and stem cells – are considered promising in improving the treatment of many diseases including Type 1 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and neurological disorders.
More than 100 Australian children with a family history of type 1 diabetes are currently being screened in the Cord Reinfusion in Diabetes study, conducted through the hospital’s Kids Research Institute.