Stem Cell Therapy for Diabetes

The achievements stem cell therapy has made to date in the treatment of diabetes are monumental. This article describes the different ways of producing pancreatic islets using different types of stem cells. In the future, it could lead to an effective and efficient cure for diabetes using these stem cell technologies.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is one of the most common death-causing diseases which has proved fatal for human existence since the past decades. Diabetes is a condition where insulin creating pancreas doesn’t secrete regular amounts of insulin, and the patient always has high-glucose pressure in the body. Diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA) is a very serious condition in diabetes.

Treatments in the field of diabetes have not proven to be very effective to date and that is why researchers find this area attractive for research. The World Health  Organization (WHO) revealed in the diabetes fact sheet that an estimated 3. 7 million patients die every year due to diabetes and high blood sugar and projected that diabetes would be the 7th leading cause of death in 2030. The rate at which deaths due to diabetes has been increasing since the past decades has led to the opting of stem cell therapy as a treatment. In the present-day-scenario, there is no efficient treatment available for diabetes which can control the insulin secretion level. Diabetic patients depend on exogenous subcutaneous insulin injections to keep the blood glucose level in control. There are not enough pancreas donors. Hence researchers had to turn to stem cell therapy for its treatment. Restoring the existing beta-cells, transplanting the stem cells, or stem cell-derived beta-like cells may open new possibilities in the field of stem cells for diabetes treatment. 

Traditional Methods of Curing Diabetes

Moringa leaves and seeds (25.2%), soursop leaves (11.5%), black plum bark  (11.5%), okra pods  (9.2%), avocado seeds (9.2%), and lemongrass (8%) were the traditional medicines reported most frequently, and 25.3% of participants reported using other traditional medicines. These were the traditional methods of curing diabetes in old times.

Stem Cells in the Treatment of Diabetes

A strategy has been used in which the Human embryonic progenitor cells have been differentiated in vivo. Diabetics can be cured by the replenishment of beta cells by the trans-plantation of Islets. Tran-planted Islets can be collected from two to three donor’s pancreatic donors with exceeding ten thousand islets equivalent. But islets transplantation has a limit attached to it. There is a problem with the storing of the donor’s organs.

Alternative sources of islet cells

  • From pigs
  • Induction from human pancreatic duct cells.
  • Fetal pancreatic stem cells.
  • Induction of insulin-producing B cells and each one has its benefits and downsides.

Stem cell therapy here comes into play. Stem cells can regenerate and differentiate into various cell types. There are various substitute stem cell techniques that help cure diabetes in its place. The various techniques are:

  • Islets derived from human fetal pancreatic progenitor cells.
  • Therapeutic cloning: Creating cloned cells only for the purpose of producing embryonic cells.
  • Mesenchymal stem cell therapy:  Mesenchymal stem cell therapy is best among autologous adult stem cells.
  • Embryonic stem cells: Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are stem cells derived from the undifferentiated inner mass cells of a human embryo.
  • Induced pluripotent
  • The use of a cell precursor and fetal pancreatic stem cells.

Both diabetes types 1 and 2 are controllable. By using all these stem cell techniques, we can treat diabetes to a much greater extent. With developed and increased research, a time will come when no one will have to fear diabetes as a cause of death. Our fight together against diabetes will yield amazing results in the field of medical science very soon.  Stem cell therapy has changed the lives of many, and it continues to do so. With continuous efforts, we will soon reach the epitome of success.

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