Sunday, February 9, 2014

New treatment for diabetes that could lead to cure

    Sunday, February 09, 2014   No comments

Scientists experimenting with stem cell approaches to alternative organ cell development have discovered a potential breakthrough in the way type 1 diabetes is treated, a new study reports.

In the sibling rivalry between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, in sheer popularity alone, type 2 would be the decisively cooler older sibling. Roughly 90 percent of all diabetes cases are type 2, characterized by a deficiency in the pancreas to produce the hormone insulin, which regulates blood glucose levels. But type 1’s remaining market share of 10 percent is actually far more lethal than type 2, as type 1 diabetics don’t simply have an insulin deficiency, which can be controlled through diet and exercise, but a total lack of insulin production.

Both forms demand the regulation of blood glucose levels, but the consequences of ignoring that demand are far more severe in type 1 patients. For years, this has motivated researchers to develop effective treatment options that jumpstart the production of insulin. They’ve known, for instance, that halted production of insulin was a result of destroyed ß-cells, which also live in the pancreas and typically disappear during childhood. (Type 1 diabetes is often referred to as juvenile diabetes.) While diabetics can stay healthy with regular insulin injections, the ideal solution would be to replace the missing ß-cells — something scientists don’t yet have the tools to do, but, with the current study, is on the horizon.


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