Tuesday April 23, 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 During Pregnancy Spikes up the Risk in Kids Later

For the study, the researchers included 73,180 mothers

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pregnancy
The study showed that a child or teenager whose mother had gestational diabetes -- diabetes during pregnancy -- was nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes before the age of 22 years. Pixabay

Children and youths whose mothers had diabetes during their pregnancy are themselves at an increased risk of the disorder, say researchers, including one of Indian-origin.

The study showed that a child or teenager whose mother had gestational diabetes — diabetes during pregnancy — was nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes before the age of 22 years.

The association was found in children from birth to the age of 22 years, from birth to 12 years, and from 12 to 22 years, said the study, published in Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

“Although Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes in parents are well-established risk factors for diabetes, we show that gestational diabetes mellitus may be a risk indicator for diabetes in the mother’s children before age 22,” said Kaberi Dasgupta, clinician-scientist from the McGill University in Canada.

“This link of diabetes in children and youth with gestational diabetes in the mother has the potential to stimulate clinicians, parents, and children and youth themselves to consider the possibility of diabetes if offspring of a mother with gestational diabetes mellitus develop signs and symptoms such as frequent urination, abnormal thirst, weight loss or fatigue,” said Dasgupta.

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According to World Health Organzation, diabetes can be treated and its consequences can be avoided or delayed with diet, physical activity, medication and regular screening and treatment for complications.

For the study, the researchers included 73,180 mothers. (IANS)