Diabetes is a disease which devastates the lives of many. It affects people in two forms, type-1 and type-2 diabetes. In the first form, the immune system in the human body obliterates beta cells, which produce insulin, whereas in the second form people face insulin resistance along with diminishing b-cell function. As the beta cell plays a significant role in insulin production and so in Diabetes Treatment, researchers are promoting the strategy of transplanting beta cells into diabetes patients. New beta cells will take the place of the lost cells in patients with type-1 diabetes, and can enhance the insulin-producing ability in type-2 diabetic patients.
Aims of Stem Cell Therapy
With the help of Stem Cell Therapy researchers aim to enhance life expectancy, minimize symptoms, reduce complications related to diabetes, and control levels of blood glucose at the same time. The recent trials and their reports show that this may soon become a clinical reality. Presently researchers across the world are working to find out ways of expanding the number of beta cells in diabetics; and some of the possible ways that are being studied to do this include replacement of the beta cells through transplantation, increasing replication power of the beta cell, minimizing the death of beta cells, and also making new cells from progenitor cells.
In earlier cases, pancreatic islet tissues supplied by donors were used for transplanting into the patients with diabetes type 1. However, lack of donor tissues and massive dosages of immunosuppressive medicines were a considerable challenge for this kind of Diabetes Treatment. Other problems with this kind of Diabetes Treatment is the process of isolation, which damages the tissues to be transplanted; and declining functionality of the islets after the transplant. All these problems made the researchers investigate stem cells and their therapeutic use for Diabetes Treatment.
Varied theories and their challenges
Until now, different approaches to Stem Cell Therapy have been studied for effective Diabetes Treatment. One theory is to introduce stem cells into the human body where they can differentiate to become beta cells through molecular signals in the pancreas. The cells are expected to travel to the tissues that are damaged and then separate in order to maintain a mass of beta cells. Another theory is the discovery of methods that can induce cells that are grown in lab conditions to become beta cells that produce insulin. Further, these cells are isolated and the differentiated stem cell can then be transplanted for Diabetes Treatment. The challenge with this kind of Stem Cell Therapy is that one has to deal with the autoimmune function that destroys the beta cells after they are introduced.
Other types of cells and their use for Diabetes Treatment
Researchers are also studying the use of induced pluripotent cells as well as reprogramming differentiated cells such as cells from adult skin to get them back to the pluripotent state so that they can work like an embryonic cell. Researchers are also exploring the use of embryonic cells and until now, some embryonic cell types have been extracted successfully. For proper Diabetes Treatment, proper protocols are also needed to guide such treatment options so that they can be applied more safely and efficiently. Once developed, Stem Cell Therapy can change the way diabetes patients live their lives and make this disease more controllable or they can potentially completely cure it as well.
*The author of this blog is not a medical professional and this article does not contain professional medical advice. This blog is not intended to substitute for medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of the contents of this article. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.