Experts from US hospitals and institutions including Harvard University and
MIT have sort out a possibility to halt Type 1 diabetes for six months with the
help of insulin-producing cells.
The team was able to show that they could prevent the cells being rendered
useless by the body’s own immune system, which was effectively switched off. Doug
Melton, led the breakthrough, by generating the human islet cells used for the
new research from human stem cells.
‘Type 1 diabetics use insulin injections to keep their blood sugar levels at safe limits. This situation may soon change with the discovery of the new encapsulated cells which help insulin secretion.’
Daniel Anderson, co-author of the study, explained that this approach
“has the potential to provide diabetics with a new pancreas that is
protected from the immune system, which would allow them to control their blood
sugar without taking drugs.”
The immunity system of a person with Type 1 diabetes starts to attack its own
pancreatic cells and robs them of their ability to produce insulin. Immunity
system reacts the same way with the transplanted cells too, thus making the
patients take immunosuppressant drugs forever. To tackle this problem,
researchers created a material that can encapsulate the human islet cells
before they are transplanted. This protects them from being attacked by the
Sarah Johnson, UK director of policy and communication at JDRF, said if this
study can be replicated in humans then one day we could potentially free people
with Type 1 diabetes from a life of insulin injections.