There’s good news for patients suffering from Diabetes Mellitus since a research team may have found a cure to the disease that effected 415 million of the world population.
A research study last year, led by Jeffrey Millman at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, has found that infusing mice with stem cells could offer a better treatment option to treating Diabetes and now it seems the same team has found a cure at least in lab mice.
According to statistics, more than 34 million Americans are suffering from diabetes which makes it to approximately 10% of the population according to the American Diabetes Association.
Insulin which is normally produced in the Pancreas is not produced in proper amounts in people suffering from Diabetes.
Diabetics are characterized by their difficulty producing or managing insulin and this requires careful monitoring, a strict diet, exercise, and expensive insulin shots directly into the bloodstream as needed.
Dr Millman’s study on diabetic lab mice foregoes these shots and instead uses beta cells to secrete the insulin for you.
It may be noted that the induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) are essentially a blank slate and can be tricked into becoming almost any other type of cell in the body.
In a new study, the team improved on the technique it had developed last year to produce and introduce these cells into the bloodstream. When converting the stem cells into another type of cell, there are always mistakes and random cells enter into the mix along with the insulin-producing ones. These cells are harmless, but they don’t pull their weight.
“The more off-target cells you get, the less therapeutically relevant cells you have,” Millman told.
“You need about a billion beta cells to cure a person of diabetes. But if a quarter of the cells you make are actually liver cells or other pancreas cells, instead of needing a billion cells, you’ll need 1.25 billion. It makes curing the disease 25% more difficult,” he added.
According to Millman’s team when these new cells were infused into diabetic mice the blood sugar levels in the mice stabilized leaving the mice functionally cured of the disease for up to nine months.
Granted, it’s just an animal trial. The results shouldn’t be interpreted as a cure for humans. But it’s a promising start.
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