Type 1 diabetes is more severe form of diabetes. It is different from the more common type 2 diabetes which is largely due to poor lifestyle.It is sometimes also called juvenile diabetes because it normally develops in children and teenagers, but it is found to develop in all ages. It is insulin dependent diabetes in these cases the immune system destroys a part of its own pancreas. The immune system by mistake sees the insulin producing cells in the pancreas as foreign and destroys them. This disease is also known as autoimmune disease. If the disease is left untreated for long, the high level of blood sugar can have a harmful effect on the eyes, kidneys, heart and nerves and can also result to coma or death.
The only treatment for type 1 diabetes was only by taking insulin injections. This insulin therapy is very tricky as it is difficult to precisely know the amount of insulin required by the body. The amount depends on several factors like food, stress, exercise and general physical and mental health.
Lately scientist have managed to take a tremendous step forward for thecure for type 1 diabetes. They are able to use stem cells to produce millions of cells in the laboratory. Tests have been conducted on mice which showed that these cells could cure the disease.
A step forward
Prof Doug Melton was the team leader in Harvard who began the search for a cure of type 1 diabetes. He is trying to produce over 150 million beta cells by using the stem cell technology. These cells were tested on mice suffering from type 1 diabetes. A report to these tests showed that these laboratory made cells could produce insulin and control the blood sugar level for a long time.
He managed to find a perfect cocktail of chemicals to transform embryonic stem cells into functioning beta cells.
There is still a doubt that if these cells were injected in a person they may face an immune attack and be destroyed. Still more research is required in the field of producing cells before this can become a cure for type 1 diabetes work It is still just a step forward towards the long- term goal . This goal includes replacing the cells that produce insulin, turning off the response from the immune system that remains the main cause of type 1 diabetes.
A scientific breakthrough is to make functional cells that cure mice, but the major medical breakthrough lies in manufacturing the cells at a large scale to treat all diabetics. Hence this a scientific research that is a step towards a potential major medical breakthrough… If this technology is proven to work both in the clinic and in the manufacturing facility, the treatment of type 1 diabetes will be a great change in line with antibiotics and other bacterial infections.
The most important challenge of this procedure will be to find ways and means to maintain these cells in the human body so that they are prevented from the attacks of the immune system and can function for a long term.