Researchers at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) have created insulin producing cells in vitro that successfully produced insulin in vivo for Type I Diabetes patients. Type I diabetics experience an autoimmune disorder which attacks and destroys the body’s insulin-producing beta cells. These patients have to take continuous insulin injections and closely and constantly monitor their blood sugar levels, since extremely high or low blood sugar levels cause diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperglycemic shock, leading to coma and death. Though diabetes is currently manageable, patients must be constantly vigilant since their bodies’ inability to regulate blood sugar often leads to other systemic diseases such as blood vessel damage, neuropathy and nephropathy, just to name a few. The study from USCF involved directing human pancreatic stem cells to become insulin-producing islets cells in the lab. In an animal model, the cells were then implanted back into the body and were shown to produce insulin in response to blood sugar spikes. Additionally, the islets produced other essential hormones for blood sugar regulation, fully resembling normal pancreatic islets.
NHS Blood and Transplant is organizing a stem cell treatment protocol in Liverpool, England for patients with diabetes related kidney disease. The randomized controlled trial will compare injections of mesenchymal stem cells with placebo injections and study whether stem cells will slow down or halt tissue damage, removing the current reliance on dialysis or transplants.
Researchers at the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have investigated the impact of mesenchymal stem cell exosomes in the treatment of chronic non-healing wounds. These conditions affect 6.5 million people with diabetes and paraplegia in the Unites States alone, at an estimated treatment cost of $25 billion per year.
According to a recently published study from the Brigham and Woman’s Hospital, mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs] have the ability to reverse type I diabetes by suppressing the auto-immune attack of islet cells. Although the MSCs cannot be directly injected into the pancreas, the researchers utilized the surface adhesion molecule HCELL to hone the stem cells in on the inflamed islets, allowing them to normalize blood sugar levels without the use of insulin.
Scientists at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre have induced adult stem cells to differentiate into small clusters of gastric tissue that replicate the functions of the human stomach. The lab-made structures, known as “mini-stomachs”, were created by replicating the chemical pathways of early stage stomach development of stem cells in a petri dish.
Harvard University researchers have developed a technique to accelerate stem cell differentiation to produce massive amounts of the insulin-producing beta cells that are destroyed in patients with type-1 or type-2 diabetes. With an ample and readily available supply of beta cells, researchers are developing therapies that may someday allow patients to produce the precise amount of insulin required to control their blood sugar levels naturally – without the use of a pump or insulin shots.
As reported on the front page of the New York Times Science section, clinical applications of stem cell based therapies are accelerating at a rate that will revolutionize the medical field in a matter of years. In the United States alone, there are currently over 4000 therapies in clinical trials for the treatment of heart disease, blindness, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, H.I.V., and other diseases, injuries, and traumas.
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Researchers led by Dr. Habib Zaghouani from the University of Missouri have developed a potential cure to Type 1 Diabetes by utilizing mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs]. Although researchers anticipated that the MSCs would differentiate into new insulin producing pancreatic beta cells, they discovered that the stem cells fulfilled the more critical function of repairing damaged blood vessels, which in turn facilitated the regeneration of insulin producing pancreatic beta cells and the distribution of insulin across the body.
Researchers from the Gladstone Institutes have developed a potential treatment for Type 1 diabetes by differentiating stem cells into insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. These new cells, when transplanted into animal models, lowered abnormally high glucose levels down to a more healthy level in just one week.
In an early stage study recently carried out by the Institute of Kidney Diseases and Research Center (IKDRC), a treatment developed by the IKDRC utilizing Insulin Secreting Cells (ISC), derived from the patient’s own mesenchymal stem cells, shows that the need for insulin doses decreased by an average of 50% when the ISCs were implanted in patients.