There are two categories of diabetes, which are type-1 and type-2. The existing medical research discovered the treatment of type-1 diabetes. This type of diabetes is less common and only occurs during the early stage when the immune system of the body attacks and destroys cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. The type-2 diabetes is a common health problem among many people but it is hard to treat. Stem cell research has discovered a possible medical treatment for various health conditions by growing transplantable cells and body organs (Bruin et al., 2015).
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The new treatment approach might be used to control type-2 diabetes. Through stem cell therapy, doctors can develop new insulin-producing cells to replace the ones lost by the pancreas. The approach could help control type-2 diabetes, which is harder to treat but constitutes 90 percent of all cases of diabetes throughout the world (Szot et al., 2015).
Currently, there is no proven stem-cell-based treatment for type-2 diabetes. Through laboratory experiments, scientists were able to make beta cells, which could be transplanted in the pancreas of diabetic patients. The current research is exploring the possibilities of making new beta cells essential for stem cell therapy. The approach could lead to the transformation of mature pluripotent stem cells into beta cells through laboratory processes. These beta cells can then be transplanted into the patient with type-2 diabetes.
The research also explores the possibility of making mature beta cells from other organs such as liver cells and transplants them into a diabetic patient. Antibiotic drugs are also expected to be used to trigger the successful insertion of the cells in the pancreas of a diabetic patient (Bruin et al., 2015).
The stem cell research activities done in various laboratories have shown the possibilities of having great success. However, the main challenge is how to protect the cells transplanted from being attacked by the body’s immune system. Pluripotent cells can be used to make any type of human cell. It is with this regard that the researchers explore the possibility of using the platform to make fully functioning beta cells. The success of the research could make it possible to replace the donor pancreatic islets of the Langerhans, which are scare body resources (Szot et al., 2015). Researchers have managed to produce pluripotent stem cells that respond to blood sugar in the same way as beta cells. During the clinical trials, the beta cells will undergo safety tests.
On the other hand, some researchers explore the possibility of using the already existing pancreatic cells in the patient to create new beta cells. Nevertheless, it is unclear whether the stem cells are present in the pancreas although the researchers had discovered the existence of beta-cell progenitors. Also, researchers are looking for drugs, which can activate these progenitor cells in the diabetic patient or trigger other mature cells in the pancreas to create beta cells.
These include the possibility of using mature cells from organs such as the liver and skin to create beta cells through laboratory processes (Bruin et al., 2015). These scientific approaches are still in the experimental stages and they have not reached the clinical trial stages. The successful experimental activities and clinical trials of stem cell therapy would provide greater relief for patients with type 2 diabetes.
Bruin, J., Saber, N., Braun, N., Fox, J., Mojibian, M., & Asadi, A. (2015). Treating diet-induced diabetes and obesity with human embryonic stem cell-derived pancreatic progenitor cells and antidiabetic drugs. Stem Cell Reports, 4(4), 605-620.
Szot, G., Yadav, M., Lang, J., Kroon, E., Kerr, J., & Kadoya, K. (2015). Tolerance induction and reversal of diabetes in mice transplanted with human embryonic stem cell-derived pancreatic endoderm. Cell Stem Cell, 16(2), 148-157.