Diabetes Treatment Using Stem Cells: No More Insulin Injection


Harvard University and Washington University School of Medicine produced insulin-secreting cells, obtained from stem cells of patient with type 1 diabetes.

This finding suggests new approach in treating type 1 diabetes. The cells that rely on the patient's own stem cells will enable their body to make insulin - using a more personalized treatment. According to scientist Jeffrey R. Millman, PhD, the cells are on trial phase and if the beta cells succeed in controlling blood sugar; it would be benefit for type 1 diabetic patients in the future.

Furthermore, the manufactured cells can sense the glucose in blood and then respond it with secreting insulin. The beta cells are obtained from the skin tissue of diabetes patients. At first, there was a doubt whether the cells produced by type 1 diabetes could work perfectly without defects but it turns out to work effectively. Millman who also researched stem cell in mouse, found no evidence on tumors developed after the cells were placed.

According to Endocrineweb, patients with type 1 diabetes aren't able to produce insulin because their pancreas are damaged. Thus they have to regularly received insulin injections so they may control blood sugar. With the new discovery, diabetic patients may have their own stem cells to make the insulin right from their body.

So far, pancreas and beta cells transplantation success is measured by the ability to accept or reject the organ. If the stem cells are from a patient's own body, then it will no longer necessary to find compatible donor and eliminate time-consuming treatment. With this new treatment, it will be done with minimal invasive surgery but can access blood supply directly.

According to the researcher, it will take up to five years of experiment to be ready for humans. Not only that the experiment will benefit for diabetes patients, but it will also allow patients to have outpatient procedures using the device, as reported by the Medical Daily.

In the future, Millman is planning to experiment beta cells creation from patients with type 2 diabetes. The technique works similarly to the one with type 1 diabetes. This can also mean that the beta cells can test the effectiveness of diabetes drugs from patients with various diseases.

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