Yong Zhao

Hackensack University Medical Center
Title: Stem Cell Educator therapy and type 1 diabetes: from bench to clinic


Yong Zhao MD, PhD, is an Associated Scientist in the Department of Biomedical Research at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Abnormalities in multiple immune cells and the deficit of insulin-producing cells are two crucial common issues in type 1 diabetes (T1D) and T2D. Insulin therapy is not a cure. In search of a cure for T1D, I discovered cord blood-derived multipotent stem cells (CB-SC) in 2005 and successfully translated this finding into clinical use. My colleagues and I invented Stem Cell Educator therapy for the treatment of diabetes and other autoimmune diseases in humans. Stem Cell Educator therapy is a closed-loop system that circulates the patient’s immune cells, briefly cocultures them with adherent CB-SCs in vitro, and returns only the “educated” autologous immune cells into the patient’s circulation. This groundbreaking T1D study was recognized by the American Diabetes Association at the 72nd Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia in 2012 as one of eight major diabetes breakthroughs that year.

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