Diabetes is among the commonest diseases in the world. Millions of people are currently affected by it with no proper or future.
A new study published in a journal named Stem Cell Reports has, however, highlighted a significant improvement in the management of diabetes. This new investigation has been regarded as a ray of hope for those who are eager to put an end to their diabetic condition.
In previous studies, scientists have been successfully transforming stem cells into beta cells, the cells responsible for producing insulin. However, a lot of problems were encountered during these processes mainly because it was extremely difficult to regulate the exact amount of insulin produced by beta cells.
By changing the way of developing these stem cells, the team performing the current study were able to produce beta cells that had a high response to glucose levels in the blood.
The scientists found that as soon as they transplanted these new cells into mice which were unable to produce insulin, the cells began producing the hormone in only a few days. This insulin helped them control their blood sugar levels for months.
The scientists are particularly excited about these results saying that they have overcome a big weakness in which these cells were previously developed.
These new cells producing insulin were more reactive and responded appropriately on encountering glucose. The scientists also found that these cells acted more like beta cells when injected into people not suffering from diabetes.
Can this Method be Helpful in Humans?
As the worldwide incidence of diabetes continues to rise, the researchers have increased their research in hope of finding a curative treatment for this condition.
The lead scientist of this study had previously been a part of the research team that initially attempted to convert skin cells into stem cells in 2014 followed by a similar attempt in 2016 in which they recruited the skin cells from a diabetic person.
During both attempts, the team focused on converting the stem cells into beta cells to secrete insulin. However, the cells did not seem to work properly as soon as they started producing this hormone.
In some cases, the cells ended up making too much insulin which in others, they did not produce it in sufficient amounts. Neither of these conditions was ideal for the management of diabetes in people. However, the cells produced in the current study were much more reliable and highly-functioning.
According to the scientists, the new cells were highly sensitive and produced insulin that corresponded to the blood glucose levels.
This research has offered a new and amazing direction for all the researchers working on diabetes. But can this concept be used to control diabetes in humans? This would certainly require carrying out clinical trials and a new way to test the cells in human subjects with complete safety.
The lead researcher is all set for such clinical trials as he along with his entire team can generate over a billion beta cells in a matter of just a few weeks. Although the research still needs to completely prove itself, it has served as an important milestone in diabetes management.