Is A Cure For Diabetes Imminent?

Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of metabolic diseases which arise when high blood sugar levels occur over a prolonged period of time.  There are three types: Type 1 occurs when pancreas does not produce enough insulin. This type occurs in childhood. With Type 2 diabetes, this occurs when cells fail to respond to insulin sufficiently. This disease occurs later in life and it is connected with obesity. The third type affects pregnant women without a previous history of diabetes. In these circumstances, women develop high blood sugar levels.

Diabetes can be treated and people with forms of the disease can adapt their lifestyle. However, there is, as yet, no cure.

In relation to Type 1 diabetes, the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson is attempting to find a cure. With this endeavor, it has joined up with a biotech company called ViaCyte. This is to enable a novel stem cell treatment to reach clinical trial. The treatment aims to permanently fix the hormonal disorder.

The new therapy operates by inducing embryonic stem cells in the laboratory, with the aim of transforming the cells into insulin-producing cells. These cells can then be placed into capsules and embedded under the skin of patient. The capsule, based on nanotechnology, is designed to protect the cells from the body’s immune system.

Once the cells are incorporated into the body’s system, positive effects can be seen (based on animal studies). This is because the new insulin producing cells begin to divide in number.

Speaking with the website Biotechnology, Dr. Tom Donner, director of the diabetes center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, enthused: “This one is potentially the real deal. It’s like making a new pancreas that makes all the hormones” needed to control blood sugar.”

About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.