Has Science found a cure for Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 Diabetes causes the immune system to damage the insulin-secreting islet cells of the pancreas. Doctors usually identify these patients at age 13 or 14. It is different from Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 can become fatal rapidly without insulin injections. There has been no cure or alternative for people suffering with this disease.
These patients risk blindness. In fact, Type 1 Diabetes is the primary cause of blindness in America. The disease will make the immune system weaker. Moreover, this disease is the main cause of kidney failure. Amputed legs are another risk for them. If their blood sugar drops too much during sleep, they can die at night also. This disease will also increase the probability of heart attack or stroke.
When the disease affected his family directly, Dr. Melton decided to focus his research on treating it.
What was the sequence of chemical messages that could convert stem cells into insulin-secreting islet cells? Their research would explore pancreatic development at a granular level of detail. How does the pancreas create islets? How could the research team produce an activation or signal for these stem cells to become islets? The clinical trial is ongoing and it might be years before this treatment may become available to the 1.5 million people in America who suffer from Type 1 Diabetes.
Several researchers, not involved in the study, acknowledge that the results are very positive and promising for future treatment. We continue to see more advances in regenerative medicine as treatments. Please watch this space as the innovations move forward.
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