Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes: Cell Transplantation Could Be A Solution For Diabetes


It is estimated that more than 18 million Americans have one form or the other of diabetes, a medical condition that is characterized by high blood sugar levels and dependence on external administration of insulin. Excess blood sugar levels may result in damage to the renal, cardiovascular and neural systems of the body. As a result of lack of insulin, patients may experience susceptibility to infections and slow healing of wounds and injuries.

Insulin is a hormone that is required by the cells of the body to metabolize glucose and use it for repair. Insulin dependant diabetes also known as type 1diabetes is a result of the inability of a group of cells in the pancreas called the islets, to produce insulin. As a result diabetic patients need insulin injections to control blood sugar levels.

The good news is that recent research carried out in transplanting these cells through an injection has achieved success. The procedure that involves separation and purification of the islets from a donor cadaver and transplanting the cells into a diabetic patient has been proven to be safe and effective.

As per the procedure, donor islets are injected into the portal vein of the liver of the recipient patient. The cells then are able to gain a new blood supply and produce insulin as per the level of blood sugar in the patient almost immediately.

The success of this procedure has brought about a lot of hope for diabetic patients, especially those with type 1 diabetes. There were a total of 36 participants that took part in the trial and out of that 19 of them continued to be insulin independent after one year of the trial.

Further clinical trials are in progress to refine the procedure. The current work that is going on in this area is emphasizing the development of a same day procedure and a solution that will improve the quality of life for insulin dependant diabetics.