Stem cell therapy has become an integral piece in the search for an innovative method to treat both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, as the push to move away from regular insulin injections for patients continues. Mesenchymal stem cells’ ability to morph or differentiate into different types of cells in the body makes them a strong candidate to combat the condition that affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide. In this article we discuss stem cell therapy for diabetes.
TYPE 1 DIABETES
In people with Type 1 Diabetes, the body's immune system actively destroys its supply of b-cells. Type 1 Diabetes is caused by a lack of b-cells in the body due to immunosuppression.
TYPE 2 DIABETES
In people with Type 2 Diabetes, the body's b-cells can no longer produce sufficient levels of insulin to overcome the developed insulin resistance.
WHAT'S THE CURE FOR DIABETES?
There is currently no known cure for diabetes. The challenge to find a cure for diabetes has largely revolved around finding a method to replace or replenish b-cells. In the past, the most effective treatment was a b-cell transplant to increase the number of healthy b-cells in a patient. This procedure, however, was undesirable for a number of reasons. The minimal number of b-cells required for a single transplant required 2 and sometimes 3 healthy donors. Additionally, the regimen of immunosuppressive drugs required to prevent the body from rejecting the donor cells was strenuous for the recipient.
DO STEM CELL HELP DIABETES?
Researchers are now turning to stem cells to achieve a high number of new b-cells without the negative effects of a transplant. After being administered into a patient, the mesenchymal stem cells migrate to the damaged tissue, differentiate into new b-cells, and continue to maintain a healthy level of b-cells in the body. Furthermore, stem cells can be lab-grown and induced into becoming insulin-producing cells. With these methods, Type 1 diabetes may be successfully managed because these cells could then directly replenish depleted cells in a patient's body. Mesenchymal stem cells can also be used in a similar way to treat Type 2 Diabetes. Even though b-cells are still present in Type 2 patients, additional b-cells could supplement the body's supply to overcome the insulin resistance present in a patient.
STEM CELLS FOR DIABETES RESEARCH
Although advances have already been made in the treatment of diabetes with stem cells, stem cell research is still evolving every day. Additional treatment may be required in conjunction with stem cells to ensure the body safely accepts the new cells and allows normal blood glucose levels to return more an extended period of time.
Stem cell therapy has become an integral piece in the search for an innovative method to treat both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, as the push to move away from regular insulin injections for patients continues.
After being administered into a patient, mesenchymal stem cells migrate to the damaged tissue, differentiate into new b-cells, and continue to maintain a healthy level of b-cells in the body.
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