Diabetes is a devastating ailment that affects millions of individuals globally. The major forms of the disease are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system perversely abolishes the insulin-producing beta cells (b-cells) of the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes, the more common form, is categorized both by insulin resistance, a condition in which numerous tissues in the body no longer respond appropriately to insulin action and by consequent progressive deterioration in b-cell function to the point that the cells can no longer create sufficient additional insulin to overcome the insulin resistance. Researchers are keenly exploring cell replacement therapy as a prospective strategy to cure type 1 diabetes, since patients with this disease have lost all or approximately all b-cell function. However, if a safe and cost-effective means for replenishing b-cells were developed, such a treatment approach could also be advantageous for the bigger population with type 2 diabetes. One of the major challenges of cell replacement therapy is the present inadequate supply of b-cells from human organ donors. This article emphasizes on stem cells as prospective sources for springing new b-cells.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes ascends from the body’s incapability to regulate the concentration of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Blood glucose concentration is modulated by insulin, a hormone produced by pancreatic b-cells and released into the bloodstream to maintain homeostasis. In healthy folks, b-cells counteract sharp upsurges in blood glucose, such as those instigated by a meal, by releasing a preliminary “spike” of insulin within a couple of minutes of the glucose challenge. This acute release is then followed by a more sustained release that may last for several hours, depending on the persistence of the elevated blood glucose concentration. The insulin release steadily tapers as the body’s steady-state glucose concentration is reinvented. While postprandial insulin release is stirred by factors except blood glucose, the blood sugar concentration is the chief driver. When the b-cells fail to produce sufficient insulin to meet regulatory requirements, however, the blood glucose concentration rises. This elevated concentration imposes a metabolic encumbrance on several body systems, dramatically raising the risk of premature cardiovascular disease, stroke and kidney failure. Furthermore, the jeopardy for certain diabetes-related complications upsurges even at blood glucose concentrations underneath the threshold for diagnosing diabetes.
Categories of diabetes
As noted earlier, there are diverse forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes results when an individual’s immune system erroneously attacks and destroys the b-cells. This kind of diabetes was once referred to as “juvenile-onset diabetes,” since it typically starts in childhood. Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5–10% of diabetes circumstances, and folks with type 1 diabetes depend on everyday insulin administration to survive. By contrast, type 2 diabetes is a metabolic ailment that results from a drop in b-cell function pooled with insulin resistance, or the incapability to use insulin effectually in peripheral tissues such as the liver, muscles and fat. Onset is related with genetic aspects and with obesity and type 2 diabetes unreasonably affects certain minority groups. 3 Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 is chiefly avoidable.
Can diabetes be treated with stem cells?
In the recent year, clinical examinations about stem cells treatment have been progressed dramatically, to configure numerous diverse outcomes in treating degenerative disorders. These treatments are recognized to be the most pleasing as they directly work on the root cause of the problem, reversing the conditions to minimalize their relative after effects, such as progression, pain and symptomatic management of the ailment.
Conventional medicines for countless degenerative disorders, such as orthopedic conditions as well as metabolic disorders are either anti-inflammatory steroidal medicines or operation; so as to manage pain and other locomotary problems. However, long-term usage of steroidal medicines can be hazardously allied with multiple organ failure; while surgery has never been a viable option, because of the cost involved as well as risk related with the same. In this regard, countless scientists and medical specialists are supporting stem cells treatment as minimally invasive as well as risk-free option to use body’s natural aptitude to heal. Stem cells are recognized to be the mother cells of the body, with the capability to reproduce infinite times and transmuted into cells of diverse tissue origin. They are the leading cells, accountable for formatting a whole cellular makeup of the human body, during fetal development inside the mother’s womb. In fact, a small fraction of these mighty cells is being stowed in the form of a reserved share in each adult mature organ and can be used to maintain cell number intact, in case of impairment because of normal deterioration of the body. However, some of the exterior as well as internal factors are responsible for deranging the cell number, as in number of cell demise is more than its production; recognized to be as the diseased condition. In such disorders, a reserved share of cell is never adequate, demanding for supplementary supply of stem cells; in which stem cells treatment can be advantageous.
Technological advances have permitted easy access to these stem cells isolated from bone marrow and adipose tissue; autologous stem cells sources. These stem cells are supplemented under controlled conditions and can be imbued back at the place of injury. In case of neurodegenerative ailments, stem cells are vaccinated straight in the cerebrospinal fluid, while in case of orthopedic ailments they are added in the joints. Targeted delivery of stem cells is approved to be advantageous owing to limited likelihood of them getting lost in the vascular system. Once imbued in the body, these stem cells create a picture-perfect homing environment, by regulating immune cells, secreting diverse growth factors and stimulating resident stem cells to multiply and burgeon further. The regulatory effects can emphasize clinical outcome, because of more tissue specific differentiation of stem cells and reverse detrimental effect due to autoimmunity and disease progression. Thus, stem cells treatment has been found to be effective in:
- Speedy retrieval and swift healing
- Pain management, omitting the requirement for steroidal medicines
- Improving functionality, including flexibility, range of motion and quality of life
- Decreasing risk for progressive impairment
Numerous research and clinical studies have so far proven that stem cells exhibit the infinite aptitude to treat potential damaging ailments, which wouldn’t have been treated via conventional treatment.