Thursday, December 8

Stem cells to achieve natural insulin secretion in people with diabetes

Stem cells to achieve natural insulin secretion in people with diabetes

With the discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto (Canada), patients with type 1 diabetes went from practically living with a death sentence to living with a chronic disease, which allows a normal quality of life.

Commemorating 100 years of the availability of insulin, the Novo Nordisk company dedicated to the research and treatment of diabetes has communicated a promising line of research that allows us to begin to ask not only if diabetes will ever be cured, but when this will happen .

As corroborated Klaus Langhoff-Roos, Corporate Vice President of the Novo Nordisk Stem Cell Unit:

“A line of research is underway focused on getting cells, called functional beta cells, transplanted into the subcutaneous tissue to produce insulin, something that, when it does not occur, is precisely what causes diabetes.”

Said cells are obtained by means of cell therapy developed from pluripotent, embryonic or induced stem cells. And announces that:

“We are studying different options, such as encapsulating cells to protect them from the immune system. We are also investigating, although in very early stages, the possibilities of so-called universal cells. They are cells that escape the immune system, without the need for encapsulation. However, there is a risk that, not being detected by the immune system, they reproduce uncontrollably. And we try to advance in the investigations to avoid it ”.

Today’s needs

Nowadays, insulin treatment has improved a lot, as new possibilities and various types of insulin have been developed.

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“We have gone from insulins of animal origin and human recombination to insulin analogues with great flexibility, simplicity or practicality, among other characteristics”,

says the doctor Francisco Merino, Full Professor of Medicine at the University of Valencia and Head of the Endocrinology and Nutrition Service at the Hospital Universitario y Politécnico La Fe de Valencia.

For his part, Juan Francisco Perán, president of the Spanish Diabetes Federation (FEDE), states that,

“With these advances, we can now say that diabetes molds itself to the patient and not the patient to diabetes. In addition, it has been possible to reduce side effects and hypoglycemia ”.

Although we must not forget that people with type 1 diabetes have two fundamental needs: to know their blood glucose levels and to inject insulin to maintain those optimal levels.

“In the first case, continuous glucose monitoring systems have meant a great qualitative leap, while in the second case, work is already under way on so-called smart insulins, capable of being released into the bloodstream based on blood glucose levels,” or in more comfortable forms of administration such as the oral route ”, indicates Dr. Merino.

Looking at the future

In the opinion of the experts, it is evident that, thanks to the innovation, important achievements of great value for the patients have been achieved and in what all these experts agree is that “the discovery of insulin in 1921 supposed a change in the life of people with diabetes. Since then, each new medical knowledge and innovation has brought a new full and healthy life expectancy ”.

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