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Cure of Diabetes may be just a few years away

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Feb. 11, 2016: This video produced by Voice of America and brought to you by NewsGram highlights 2 things:
1. Insulin Pumps currently are automated, ie, you have to keep monitoring glucose levels and then decide the insulin dose to be given via Insulin pumps. The scientists say, in next 5 years, automated insulin pumps would become a reality.
2. Ongoing experiments in mice give hope that even the cure of diabetes may not be far away.

Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Excess sugar, or glucose, in your blood is not good.  But a healthy body regulates it through insulin, produced in the organ called the pancreas. If the body fails to do that, either because of genetics, or an unhealthy lifestyle, diabetics have to adopt a grueling routine of constant monitoring of blood sugar and injecting insulin for the rest of their lives.

Both insulin monitors and delivery devices called insulin pumps, are available, but so far, creating an automatic injector that does not require monitoring has proved to be a difficult problem.

After working on it for almost 20 years, scientists at Harvard University say they may be close to solving it.

Frank Doyle of Harvard University says: “In essence, we use a patient model, a computational model, a mathematical model, to forecast into the future. So we get a sense of how past insulin affects future glucose, how the past trajectory of glucose is going to play out for the next hour or two.”

Scientists say automatic insulin pumps should be on the market within five years.

Finding a cure for diabetes would be even better and these mice may  hold the key.

In the type of diabetes caused by genetic disposition, the human immune system kills pancreas cells that produce insulin.  A jello-like substance engineered in the laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shields those cells from the attack.

Daniel Anderson of Massachusetts Inst of Technology says: “We can take these human islets from stem cells and actually cure these diabetic mice for months. We have also shown that in primates we can put these little balls of new material in the abdominal space of primates and see that they don’t form scar tissue which is an important step towards thinking of using them in people.”

Scientists are optimistic that one way or another, or maybe with a combination of approaches, they will bring relief to diabetes sufferers within a few years. (GEORGE PUTIC, VOANEWS, WASHINGTON)

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New Drug Offers Treatment For Diabetes-Related Blindness

The researchers now plan to conduct a full-scale clinical trial, Gamble said

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New drug offers hope for diabetes-related blindness.

In a major breakthrough, Australian scientists have developed a new drug that offers treatment for people suffering from diabetic retinopathy — the main cause of blindness from diabetes.

The debilitating disease occurs when tiny blood vessels in the retina, responsible for detecting light, leak fluid or haemorrhage.

While treatment options include laser surgery or eye injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), they are not always effective or can result in side effects, highlighting the need for alternative therapeutic approaches.

The team from the Centenary Institute in Sydney developed a novel drug CD5-2, which in mouse models was found to mend the damaged blood retinal barrier and reduce vascular leakage.

“We believe CD5-2 could potentially be used as a stand-alone therapy to treat those patients who fail to respond to the anti-VEGF treatment. It may also work in conjunction with existing anti-VEGF treatments to extend the effectiveness of the treatment,” said lead author Ka Ka Ting from the Institute.

“With limited treatment options currently available, it is critical we develop alternative strategies for the treatment of this outcome of diabetes,” Ting added.

Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

The key process involved in diabetic retinopathy pathology is the breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier (BRB), which is normally impermeable. Its integrity relies on how well capillary endothelial cells are bound together by tight junctions. If the junctions are loose or damaged, the blood vessels can leak.

In the study, reported in the journal Diabetologia, CD5-2 was found to have therapeutic potential for individuals with vascular-leak-associated retinal diseases based on its ease of delivery and its ability to reverse vascular dysfunction as well as inflammatory aspects in animal models of retinopathy.

Previous studies have shown that CD5-2 can have positive effects on the growth of blood vessels.

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“This drug has shown great promise for the treatment of several major health problems, in the eye and in the brain,” said Professor Jenny Gamble, head of Centenary’s Vascular Biology Programme.

The researchers now plan to conduct a full-scale clinical trial, Gamble said. (IANS)