14 Jun Insulin-Producing Cells Made by Stem Cells Could Potentially Cure Type-1 Diabetes in Humans
Diabetes is a dangerous disease and it claims millions of lives all over the world every year. A certain stem cell researcher, Doug Melton, vows to create a cure for type-1 Diabetes someday.
When his son was diagnosed with the condition more than 20 years ago, Melton made a promise that he will create a permanent cure. When his daughter was diagnosed with the same autoimmune disease, he made sure that he’s going to work doubly hard. Today, his efforts have been realized.
Type-1 Diabetes is a condition where people who are diagnosed with it have their immune system attack beta cells that are responsible for regulating blood sugar levels by increasing or decreasing levels of insulin depending on the body’s current state.That is why people who have this autoimmune disease would resort to getting insulin shots and they will pretty much be under medication until they die. But, hopefully, Melton will be able to find a permanent cure for this condition in the foreseeable future.
Doug Melton is a stem cell researcher at Harvard and when his kids were diagnosed with type-1 diabetes, he made a promise that he will one day provide a cure for them and millions all over the world that are afflicted with this disease.
To come up with a suitable cure, Melton used stem cells (more specifically, induced pluripotent stem cells), to help him create a fresh new supply of beta cells which are also the same ones that are secreted by the Pancreas.
Melton likened the process for which he came up with the beta cells much like a raspberry chocolate cake. He said that you already know the components and the ingredients that are needed to make that cake, all you have to do now is to come up with the right order and the right timing to make things perfect.
He and his team were able to create millions of beta cells from derived stem cells and they have tested these in Diabetic mice. Not only did their immune systems not attack the transplanted cells, it was also clear in the screening tests that the cells were able to regulate the blood glucose levels of the mice.
Melton is working with Daniel Anderson, an applied Biology Professor at MIT, to develop a vector that will allow people to take in the new beta cells without the immune system attacking them.
There is another company, ViaCyte, that is proposing a different method. They proposed the idea that they should instead encapsulate the cells, pretty much the same way a teabag encapsulates the tea leaves.
Melton is hopeful that one day, the government will give them the green light so that he and his team can proceed with human clinical trials. He forecasts that it would most likely be within the next two years or hopefully, sooner.
Perhaps one day, you do not have to fear of Type-1 Diabetes because there is a cure for it.