Scientists at the University of Alberta have recently cured diabetes in trial mice by using a new stem cell process. They have been able to turn a patient’s own blood into insulin-producing islet cells (specific stem cells that are contained in a protective capsule. The capsule is implanted into the body and the stem cells grow into cells capable of producing insulin, as well as other hormones.). “We’ve been taking blood samples from patients with diabetes, winding those cells from the blood back in time so that they can be changed, and then we’re moving them forward in time so that we can turn them into the cells we want,” Dr. James Shapiro, one of the leading researchers says.
While the future is hopeful, Dr. James Shapiro is sure to state that further research is needed before anything can proceed. “There needs to be preliminary data and ideally a handful of patients that would demonstrate to the world that is possible and that it’s safe and effective,” Shapiro elaborates.
According to the lead researcher, lack of funding is the main hurdle. There is still more equipment to be purchased and more trials to be tested to take the work from animals to humans.
Even these small steps into the future bring hope that diabetes, which affects 422 million people globally, one day will be a thing of the distant past.
While we are waiting for the cure, remember to check your blood sugar every day and protect your CGM with an adhesive patch!