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Surge in diabetes can hamper India’s economic growth

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Mumbai: With diabetes affecting a large section of India’s population, the chronic health condition can adversely affect the country’s economic growth, experts have warned.

“The financial burden of diabetes on India over the next 10 years can increase drastically and threaten the productivity level of the workforce in the country and loss of national income,” said Dr. Avinash Phadke of SRL Diagnostics in Mumbai.

“Diabetes must be made a national health priority, else it will impact India’s growth as an emerging economy,” Phadke said.

A recent study from the University of East Anglia showed that it reduces people’s employment chances and wages around the world.

The study published earlier this year in the journal PharmacoEconomics looked into the economic impact of Type-II diabetes worldwide.

They were surprised to find not only a large cost burden in high-income countries but also in low and middle-income countries – where people with this disease and their families face high costs for treatment.

“Diabetes affects 382 million people worldwide, and that number is expected to grow to 592 million by 2035. It is a chronic disease that has spread widely in recent decades – not only in high-income countries, but also in many populous low and middle-income countries such as India and China,” said lead researcher Till Seuring.

Phadke said that diabetes is fast gaining the status of a potential epidemic in India with more than 62 million individuals currently diagnosed with the disease.

“It may affect 79.4 million individuals by 2030,” Phadke pointed out.

(IANS)

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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)