Friday October 19, 2018

India tops in development of Stem cell treatment, also it can be a pathbreaking Therapy for Diabetes, Autism

Stem cell therapy has turned out to be a ray of hope for most patients who are trying to find a cure for incurable diseases

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Doctors operating on a patient (representational image), Pixabay
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Jan 18, 2017: Stem cell therapy has turned out to be a ray of hope for most patients who are trying to find a cure for incurable diseases. Researchers and experts believe India has been at the top in the development of stem cell treatment followed by several other countries like China and Japan. However, due to lack of awareness, most people don’t think of stem cell therapy as an option for treating most of the incurable diseases.

One of the major issues that India is battling is increasing incidence of diabetes and autism. According to reports, more than 10 million children in India suffer from autism. About 1 to 1.5 per cent of such children are aged 2-9. Autism by far is a mental condition which is present from early childhood, characterised by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts, and also characterised by weakened social interface, weakened communication and indulging in repetitive behaviour.

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In the case of diabetes, it is one of the most talked-about diseases across the world and especially in India, but awareness on this is still low. Diabetes generally occurs due to failure or damage of the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas called Beta cells. Diabetes can be classified into 2 types: Type 1 (T1DM) and Type 2 (T2DM).

Stem cells are part of the human body and have the unique ability of naturally finding and repairing the place of damage within. Over the past two decades, it has been made possible to treat T1DM by transplanting islet cells or even whole pancreas from cadaveric donors (allogenic transplantation). Transplants can enable the body to regain control of blood sugar levels so that insulin injections are no longer needed.

Islet transplantations are not very common, because whole pancreas transplants involve major surgery and carry significant risk. Transplants require the immune system to be suppressed so that the new “alien” organ is not rejected. Immuno-suppressant drugs leave the recipient vulnerable to infections and often have side-effects. One of the biggest problems faced by islet transplantation is the lack of donors.

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This can be overcome by using patient’s own stem cells (autologous transplantation), bypassing all the complications, rejections and side-effects. Research has shown that stem cells present in the patient’s pancreas are able to make new Beta cells. Beta cell progenitors have been found in the pancreas of both rodents and humans; it may be possible to grow islet cells from patient’s existing islet cells. Alternately, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) treatment is also being explored. These can be sourced from the patient’s own adipose tissue (fat), umbilical cord, menstrual fluid, bone marrow and the like.

Clinical trials inserting MSCs into Type 1 diabetes patients take advantage of two properties of these cells. Firstly, they have the regenerative potential to repair Beta cells and, secondly, they can modulate the immune system by inhibiting the responses that lead to the auto-immune attack on pancreatic Beta cells. Since these stem cells come from the patient’s own body, there is also no risk of rejection or side-effects. MSCs may be injected intravenously or within the pancreas itself. This approach promotes Beta cell function, thereby reducing or eliminating the requirement for exogenous insulin.

The central government is also planning to curb the growing incidence of diabetes by stringent measures, including higher taxes and stricter advertisement norms to regulate sale of sugar-sweetened beverages and junk food.

Clinical trials are also under way for autism. Experts believe the umbilical cord stem cells are ideal for treating this because they allow doctors to administer uniform doses as they don’t require collection of stem cells from the patient considering it could be a laborious process for child and the parent. Because they are collected right after birth, umbilical cord-derived cells are much more potent than their “older” counterparts like bone marrow-derived cells.

With trials under way, stem cell therapy could be an effective solution in treating autism and Type 1 diabetes rather than harmful drugs. (IANS)

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Novel Artificial Pancreas System To Control Blood Sugar Levels in a Better Way

The device was shown to work for children as young as six - a crucial finding for a condition which often strikes in childhood

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Artificial pancreas system better than insulin jabs for diabetics. Pixabay

A novel artificial pancreas system can control blood sugar levels better than insulin injections for both children and older adults with Type-1 diabetes, results of a clinical trial have shown.

The findings, published in The Lancet, showed that the closed-loop insulin delivery system, as it is called, is better than sensor-augmented pump therapy for blood sugar control and reduced risk of hypoglycaemia — low sugar condition — in poorly controlled Type-1 diabetes patients.

“The use of day-and-night hybrid closed-loop insulin delivery improves glycaemic control while reducing the risk of hypoglycaemia in adults, adolescents and children with Type-1 diabetes compared to conventional pump therapy or sensor-augmented pump therapy,” said researchers including Roman Hovorka from the UK’s University of Cambridge.

“Type 1 diabetes is a challenging condition, but these results take us a step closer to changing the lives of millions of people that live with the condition across the world,” the researchers added.

The artificial pancreas resembles an iPod and is strapped to patients’ clothing with a small monitor and pump fitted to their skin and can both monitor blood sugar as well as inject insulin automatically if blood sugar gets too high, the Daily Mail reported.

Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

The device also allows patients to add doses of insulin manually, for example when they are about to eat a big meal.

Insulin pumps, on the other hand, monitors people’s blood sugar levels and warn them when it gets too low or high so they know whether to inject insulin or eat more.

For the trial, the team randomly assigned 44 male and 42 female patients with Type-1 diabetes aged six years and older to receive either hybrid closed-loop therapy or sensor-augmented pump therapy over 12 weeks.

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The amount of time people spent with ‘dangerously’ high or low blood sugar fell by 25 per cent for people using the artificial pancreas, but rose by 18 per cent for people using an ordinary insulin pump, the report said.

The device was shown to work for children as young as six – a crucial finding for a condition which often strikes in childhood. (IANS)