New Breakthrough in Stem Cell Could Put an end to Insulin Injections Required by Diabetic Patients
People suffering from Type 1 diabetes have to inject insulin every day that is not only painful but can also result in swelling, redness, and itching where you inject. However, thanks to the recent development, the cure for type 1 diabetes may now be a step closer. MIT and Harvard researchers used insulin producing cells to restore the function of insulin in mice for a long period. In 2014, the same team of researchers used stem cells to create large quantities of beta cells that produce insulin. Now these cells were transplanted in the mice that eliminated the disease for a period of six months, without provoking a response from the immunity system. The study was published in the Nature journal, reported Gizmodo.
Co-author of the study, Daniel Anderson quoted in MIT news explaining that this approach "has the potential to provide diabetics with a new pancreas that is protected from the immune system, which would allow them to control their blood sugar without taking drugs." Human trials are yet to be started in few years from now. If this process works successfully in humans, patients would be required to take a transfusion every few years, rather than taking an insulin injection everyday.
Immunity system of a person with Type 1 diabetes starts to attack its pancreatic cells and robs them of their ability to produce insulin. Immunity system reacts the same way with the transplanted cells too. This is why the patients are required to take immunosuppressant drugs forever. To fight this problem, researchers created a material that can encapsulate the human islet cells before they are transplanted. This protects them from being attacked by the immune system. In a lab test on mice, these encapsulated cells were able to keep diabetes at bay for a period of six months.