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Stem cells, a solution for diabetes

In China they manage to apply therapy to a patient and cure him, after 25 years of suffering from the disease

Humanity faces different challenges, one of them is eradicating chronic diseases and, in that sense, science has taken an important step in recent days, since in China they were able to cure a patient who has suffered from diabetes for 25 years.

Through the use of stem cells, they were able to replace those that the disease damaged, using peripheral blood mononuclear cells from the 59-year-old patient himself, which were transformed into seed cells, which reconstructed the tissue of the pancreatic islets in an artificial environment.

The person received the therapy for 11 weeks and during that period they realized that they did not need external insulin, but after a year they completely eliminated the oral medication they used to control their blood glucose levels. So far, the results indicate that the function of the pancreatic islets was restored.

This study serves as a basis for others that can provide data and perfect ways to treat and cure the disease, one of the diseases that currently affects humanity the most due to the metabolic condition that deregulates blood glucose.

This condition causes excess glucose to cause serious damage to different organs such as the heart, kidneys, nerves, blood vessels and eyes.

Diabetes is characterized in two types, but type 2 is the most common, with an incidence of 90% of diabetic people. It occurs in pancreatic cells called pancreatic islets when they stop producing enough insulin to regulate glucose.

Dr. José Cardier, head of the Cellular Therapy Unit of the Regenerative Medicine Center of the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research (Ivic), indicated that this news has a very great impact on the lives of diabetics.

During an interview with Últimas Noticias, explained that this study done in China is still experimental, so it is not a treatment, but a procedure in which embryonic cells or cells made in the laboratory were used.

With this technique, beta cells are obtained, which are the ones that make insulin and in theory they can be put into the patient to produce insulin, that is, diabetes is cured.

Cardier reiterated how significant this advance is because patients often have long-term vision problems due to retinal damage, lose kidneys and have ulcers. “It's a drama, patients live to be 70, 80 years old, but they have to depend on insulin,” she added.

However, he highlighted that with this procedure of using stem cells there is a very high risk of tumors occurring, something that must be taken into account when falling for scams and misleading offers promoted on the internet.

The researcher also stressed that Venezuela is observing the progress of this type of research because Ivic has put into practice the use of stem cells to treat other diseases.

Background

The idea of ​​stem cell therapies for diabetes is not new; in 2021, a case was reported in the United States for patients with type 1, which arises from the immune system attacking the body itself and destroying the cells. of insulin. This condition begins in childhood and can be fatal.

For this, clinical trials were carried out by the company Vertex Pharmaceuticals, whose focus is the administration of the cells in the hepatic portal vein (liver) or through a device surgically placed in the body.

Similarly, at Monash University, Australia, a pioneering study was carried out on the regeneration of insulin in pancreatic stem cells, while the European Union financed a project for the laboratory development of three-dimensional cell cultures of insulin-producing cells. insulin to treat type 1 diabetes, according to the Community Research and Development Information Service (Cordis) of the European Commission on its website.

The origin of diabetes can vary, because there are multiple risk factors, among which family history, age, and environmental factors stand out, in relation to type 1. On the other hand, for type 2, overweight or obesity, also age and family history, as well as physical inactivity, high blood pressure and low levels of HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides.

Data

  • In the world it is estimated that more than 400 million people suffer from diabetes, which is responsible for 99% of mortality from all causes.
  • The existing treatments so far only help control the disease, but do not prevent or reverse it, experts say.
  • Until now, it has only been possible to reverse the disease in those people who receive a transplant of pancreas or insulin-producing cells from an organ donor, something that in most cases is difficult due to the shortage of organs.
  • In all regions of the American continent, at least 62 million people live with diabetes mellitus, which is type 2, a figure that has tripled since the 1980s, and according to projections it could reach 109 million by 2040, reports the Organization. Panamericana de la Salud on its website.

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