Diabetes is on the rise all over the world, and the World Health Organization sees it as a major problem. They predict that by 2045, around 700 million people could be dealing with diabetes.
While fully getting rid of diabetes is a tough task, many treatments effectively handle its symptoms. But the lasting issues linked to diabetes still linger.
The biotech industry is exploring stem cells as a potential cure for diabetes. They’re on a mission to find a lasting, natural remedy for this widespread condition. One can also opt for a personalised diabetes care program in order to manage their diabetes better.
The Concept of Stem Cells
Stem cells are specialised cells that can renew themselves. They are usually produced from umbilical cord blood, bone marrow, tooth pulp, etc., and can be employed to regenerate other tissues and organs in the body.
Their ability to multiply into different types of cells quickly makes them a game-changer in research for the treatment of chronic diseases like diabetes, neurological issues, tumours, etc. Stem cell therapy for diabetes is a bright prospect for long-term cure.
Treatment of Diabetes With Stem Cells
Stem cell treatments will bring about a revolutionary change in how we manage diabetes. Let us understand stem cells and diabetes:
Diabetes is mainly of two varieties:
- Type 1 diabetes:
This is an autoimmune issue that attacks pancreatic cells, the insulin-producing beta cells. The treatment is focused on supplying the body with the necessary insulin, either through oral medicines or insulin injections.
- Type 2 diabetes:
This is still affected by genetic factors and lifestyle choices. While insulin production is adequate or insulin resistance, the body struggles to use it efficiently. Medications are essential to enhance insulin utilization in this case.
Managing diabetes, whether Type 1 or Type 2, involves keeping a close eye on blood sugar levels, taking medications, making dietary and lifestyle adjustments, and effectively managing stress. Stem cell therapy for diabetes offers a groundbreaking approach by creating insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, leading to better control of blood glucose levels. This breakthrough provides the possibility of living a life free from medication.
A Brief History Of Stem Cell Treatments For Diabetes
Stem cell treatments for diabetes have evolved gradually in India. While the early 2000s saw experimental use, recent years have witnessed increased research and clinical trials.
India has some of the best centres for treating diabetes, with research on stem cells leading biotechnologists, diabetologists, and laboratory facilities.
To explore the possibility of stem cell therapy for diabetes, it is preferable to consult clinicians specializing in diabetes care or participate in relevant clinical trials. It is critical to discuss the potential risks, benefits, and alternative treatment options when considering stem cell therapy for diabetes.
How Does Stem Cell Therapy for Diabetes Work?
Stem cells are sourced from tissues like adult mesenchymal cells (AMSC) to initiate the treatment of diabetes with stem cells.
Stem cells can differentiate into a variety of cell types. In this case, it breaks up into the affected beta cells for diabetes treatment. Once turned into insulin-producing cells, these stem cells are injected or otherwise inserted into the patient’s body.
Ideally, the newly injected cells will integrate with the pancreas, triggering insulin production and regulating blood glucose levels in diabetics. Following treatment, patients might need to be observed to guarantee a successful stem cell treatment for diabetes.
Research suggests a few critical factors to consider when determining if stem cell therapy for diabetes is effective:
Controlled blood sugar levels on testing that is sustainable
Higher insulin production, as per blood tests
The stem cells that cure diabetes should be sustainable without early recurrence.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Stem Cell Treatment in Diabetes
- Pros of stem cell therapy diabetes:
- Cures the Root Cause: Stem cells have the potential to replace injured pancreatic cells, hence increasing insulin productivity.
- Reduces the Dependency of Insulin: Successful therapies may reduce or eliminate the requirement for exogenous insulin.
- Stem cell therapy targets the underlying cause of diabetes, potentially slowing its progress and complications.
- Cons of stem cells cure diabetes:
- Stem cell treatments for diabetes are often part of clinical trials and are performed by a few centers across the country, making them unavailable for many.
- The complexities of diabetes and stem cell behaviour are not guaranteed, and long-term effectiveness is uncertain.
- Expensive: treating diabetes with stem cells may be an expensive option for many in the country.
Some Latest Updates in Stem Cell Therapy in 2024
The FDA has approved Lantidra, a pioneer in cellular therapy, for adults with type 1 diabetes. It is intended for people who have recurrent low blood sugar episodes and uses cells from a donor pancreas.