25 Jul DIABETES TREATMENT: IS STEM CELL THERAPY CUT OUT FOR IT?
Diabetes is a chronic disease of global concern. It is one of the commonest causes of blindness, stroke, lower limb amputation, and kidney failure worldwide. According to WHO statistics, diabetes was the ninth leading cause of death in 2019. The damaging effects of diabetes are manifested in every system of the body and the complications reduce the quality of life in patients.
Treatment for diabetes aims to combine diet, physical activity, and medical therapy to lower blood glucose levels, reduce the risk of developing complications and improve the quality of life in diabetic patients in the most cost-effective and sustainable method possible.
Type 1 diabetes
The primary problem in diabetes is the inability of the body’s natural physiologic mechanisms to regulate the glucose level in the blood. The body utilizes a hormone known as insulin to regulate the level of glucose in the blood. The inability of the body to do this results in the symptoms and complications of diabetes. There are different types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a condition that occurs as a result of inadequate insulin production in the body.
In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin to meet its needs. Treatment of Type 1 diabetes requires the administration of insulin to cover for the body’s inadequacies.
Can stem cells finally treat Type 1 diabetes?
Stem cells have been explored in the management of several medical conditions. Scientists have uncovered numerous interesting facts about stem cells. The struggle associated with keeping up with the daily medications, checks, and lifestyle changes associated with diabetes treatment has triggered the search for other alternatives for diabetes management. Stem cells are unique cells found abundantly in the body and are capable of differentiating into specific cell types depending on the body’s needs.
Stem cells exist in a non-specific state and are present in different types of tissue in the body. They can self-renew, generate new cell types from an existing organ or regenerate the organ itself. Scientists have applied different types of stem cells in the management of medical conditions like leukemia, sickle cell anemia, and so on.
As type 1 diabetes is caused by autoimmune-mediated destruction of pancreatic cells, scientists are exploring the possibility of using stem cells to create new pancreatic cells to replace the damaged ones and therefore improve the production and secretion of insulin. Experts agree that the use of stem cells could be the future of diabetes treatment. Several research studies have been able to create new insulin-secreting cells using stem cells. However, clinical trials are still ongoing to determine the effectiveness of this treatment on humans.
Can stem cell treatment reverse diabetes?
Reports from clinical trials show that the use of stem cell therapy can cause a significant reduction in blood sugar levels as well as a reduced need for insulin shots in such patients. Many experts describe stem cell therapy as a game-changer in the management of diabetes.
However, there are still many grey areas on this topic. There is no evidence that stem cell therapy can reverse diabetes. The reports of clinical trials have only shown significant improvement but no sign of complete reversal of the condition. Further clinical trials and experiments will be needed to ascertain the degree of safety expected in stem cell treatments for insulin. Available scientific findings suggest that stem cell therapy has the potential to replace the need for insulin shots in diabetic patients. Future research will uncover more interesting facts about stem cells and how they could change the direction of diabetes treatment.
Global companies and treatment centers working on diabetes
There is a long list of global companies and treatment centers working on the prevention and treatment of diabetes. Some companies are committed to the research and development of new drugs that offer fewer side effects and better outcomes in management while others are exploring new treatment options for diabetes.
Some other organizations and international groups offer support programs, counseling, education programs, and so on. There is also a long list of companies exploring stem cell treatment options in the management of diabetes. Patients can also have access to treatment centers like stem cell therapy in Los Angeles; which offers stem cell therapy for different medical conditions. They can also find support groups and non-governmental organizations providing a variety of services that can be of great help.