Scientists Move One Step Closer To “Curing” Diabetes Using First-Ever Stem Cell Implant
Clinical trials have begun for ViaCyte's PEC-Direct, an implant that grows insulin-producing cells from stem cells to treat type 1 diabetes patients. If successful, the implant could eliminate the need for these patients to inject themselves with insulin.
No More Injections
The World Health Organization reports that more than 422 million people worldwide are living with diabetes, a condition that can take two forms. In the first, the body’s immune system attacks cells in the pancreas, preventing the organ from producing enough insulin [type 1 diabetes (T1D)]. In the second, the body doesn’t know how to use the insulin that is produced [type 2 diabetes (TD2)].
T1D accounts for roughly 10 percent of diabetes cases, and unlike T2D, which can often be reversed through lifestyle changes such as weight loss or increased exercise, scientists have yet to figure out how to prevent or cure T1D.
Right now, T1D is best managed by balancing insulin doses, but this method can be problematic in high-risk cases, taking time to act. Moreover, patients with hypoglycemia (low glucose) unawareness may not notice when their blood sugar drops dangerously low. Thankfully, researchers all over the world are hard at work looking for a cure that will free T1D patients from their dependence on insulin injections and from risky situations when their levels drop low.
Now, one group may have found such a cure.
Just last week, California-based company ViaCyte began trials involving two T1D patients who were implanted with the company’s PEC-Direct device.
Each of these credit card-sized implants car Continue reading