Sunday September 22, 2019

Novel Hope for Stem Cell Approach to Treat Diabetes

'Another idea would be to use gene-editing tools to alter the genes of beta cells in ways that would allow them to 'hide' from the immune system after implantation.'

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Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

The researchers, from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said that when they transplanted the beta cells into mice that could not make insulin, the new cells began secreting insulin within a few days, and they continued to control blood sugar in the animals for months.

‘We’ve been able to overcome a major weakness in the way these cells previously had been developed. The new insulin-producing cells react more quickly and appropriately when they encounter glucose,’ said lead author Jeffrey R. Millman, PhD, Assistant Professor.

‘The cells behave much more like beta cells in people who don’t have diabetes,’ he said.

For the study, published in the journal Stem Cell Reports, the team grew beta cells from human stem cells, but they made numerous changes to the ‘recipe’ for producing insulin-producing beta cells, treating the cells with different factors at different times as they grew and developed to help the cells mature and function more effectively.

Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

After that process was complete, the researchers transplanted the beta cells into diabetic mice with suppressed immune systems so that they wouldn’t reject the human cells.

Those transplanted cells produced insulin at levels that effectively controlled blood sugar in the mice, functionally curing their diabetes for several months, which, for most of the mice in the study, was about the length of their lives.

The researcher said he can’t predict exactly when such cells may be ready for human trials but believes there are at least two ways that stem cell-derived beta cells could be tested in human patients.

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‘The first would be to encapsulate the cells in something like a gel — with pores small enough to prevent immune cells from getting in but large enough to allow insulin to get out,’ he said.

‘Another idea would be to use gene-editing tools to alter the genes of beta cells in ways that would allow them to ‘hide’ from the immune system after implantation.’ (IANS)

Next Story

Diabetes Medication to Reduce Heart Disease Shows Promise: Researchers

The results are applicable primarily to dapagliflozin, which was the predominant SGLT2 inhibitor used in Scandinavia during the study period

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diabetes
Diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death in women and claims 2.1 million female lives every year, more so than men. Pixabay

Researchers, including one of an Indian-origin, have shed light on how a class of medications that help regulate blood sugar for patients with Type 2 diabetes can also protect from heart disease.

The findings published in the journal Cell Metabolism, focus on the effect of diabetes medication — empagliflozin — on cell repair in blood vessels and the resulting risks of heart disease.

Empagliflozin is a medication that falls under a category of drugs called SGLT2 inhibitors, which lower blood sugar.

“We have seen large-scale clinical trials giving us clear evidence that SGLT2 inhibitors can also protect our patients who have diabetes from heart disease,” said Indian-origin researcher and study author Subodh Verma from St. Michael’s Hospital in Canada.

The research suggests that circulating progenitor cells — which are found in the bone marrow and play a role in heart health — along with inflammatory cells are regulated with this diabetes medication.

For patients who have diabetes are at the risk of heart disease, such medications may provide heart protection by relieving damaged cells that would otherwise perpetuate heart disease by causing faulty vessel repair.

Diabetes
According to the researchers, these novel findings may provide the basis for new therapies for patients who have heart disease complicated by diabetes. Pixabay

Using blood samples from the EMPA-HEART CardioLink-6 Trial, the research team was able to show that in diabetes, regenerative progenitor cells were reduced.

Patients who took empagliflozin, however, these progenitor cells were restored later.

“We found that in people with diabetes, not only were beneficial progenitor cells increased but we saw indications of reduced inflammation and oxidative stress, which can also contribute to cardiovascular disease,” said David Hess, Associate Professor at Western University.

According to the researchers, these novel findings may provide the basis for new therapies for patients who have heart disease complicated by diabetes.

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Earlier a research from Karolinska Institute in Sweden said that the new type of drugs for type 2 diabetes — SGLT2 inhibitors — are associated with a reduced risk of heart failure by 34 per cent.

The results are applicable primarily to dapagliflozin, which was the predominant SGLT2 inhibitor used in Scandinavia during the study period. (IANS)