In the United States, 29.1 million people have diabetes and many more could be undiagnosed. For such a common health condition there are very few treatment options. There are even concerns that some of the most common medications can cause major problems, with scary reports on the possibility Janumet causes pancreatic cancer. Diabetes sufferers are more likely to suffer from kidney failure, blindness, strokes and heart attacks. However, there are advances in medicine all the time and there is hope for new, better treatments for sufferers of diabetes, and perhaps even a cure.
Diabetes is a disorder that causes irregular levels of insulin, a hormone that helps glucose get to your cells and give you energy. If your body doesn’t make enough insulin then fucose stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells as it should. There are two types, type 1 which people usually develop as children, their bodies don’t produce any insulin and they need injections of it to stay alive. Type 2 occurs at any age and is more common in older people, it can be caused by bad diet.
Cell therapy is still in the early stages of development; however, it has a lot of potential to become the cure for diabetes. Especially for type 1 sufferers. Cell therapy works by introducing insulin-producing cells, where there were none.
Early experiments have resulted in rejections of the foreign cells, despite this there is still hope that this could be adapted into a cure. And there has been a lot of progress in Europe.
Insulin producing cells should be made in the pancreas. One option is creating an artificial pancreas which can measure levels of glucose and create the right amount of insulin for the body. This method, however, is in its very early stages and needs a lot of work before it can be a real contender.
Another treatment being developed is immunotherapy. In type 1 diabetes, the cells that should produce insulin are destroyed by the immune system. Immunotherapy attempts to stop the immune system in its tracks and stop these cells from being destroyed. A clinical trial is being run in Belgium.
Stimulating the production of insulin
Sufferers of type 2 diabetes still have cells which are capable of producing insulin, and so there is hope that these can be stimulated.
Drugs are being developed which can be taken orally riding the need of injecting. Patches are also being developed as a non-invasive method of controlling diabetes.
Treating the microbiome
Scientists are only now beginning to understand the importance of our microbiome and the big role that microbes play in our overall health. Especially the microbes in our gut which have been linked to several illnesses, including diabetes.
Research is taking place as to how we can best use this knowledge to create new treatments.
Developments in medical technology such as microchips and nanobots also have exciting potentials to assist in many diseases, including diabetes. Traditional medicines are slowly being replaced and a medical revolution might not be as far away as we think.