New Research On Gene Therapy To Treat Diabetes

The Importance Of Insulin

Insulin is medicine used to treat diabetes for those unable to keep their blood glucose levels under control with diet and exercise. Insulin helps the body move glucose into the cells so that the body does not suffer the dangers of extreme blood sugar levels.

New research is looking into alternatives to insulin.  Instead of treating diabetes symptoms, researchers keep looking for the root cause of diabetes.

Replacing Insulin

Researchers in San Antonio are working on finding a replacement to insulin or way of stimulating pancreatic cells to produce insulin. Through gene or cell replacement therapy, stronger, more effective cells can form. These cells will treat blood glucose levels continuously.

The pancreas is a very vital organ in your body. In the pancreas, there are beta cells and alpha cells. Type 1 and 2 diabetes occur when these beta cells are destroyed by your immune system. Destruction happens to the point that your body can no longer keep producing the amount of insulin needed to manage blood glucose levels.

gene therapy

Gene Therapy

Gene therapy ultimately means adding a foreign gene into any cell type in your body. In turn, the foreign gene will help the body to create more working cells. Cell replacement therapy encompasses creating or expanding insulin-producing cells. This is done through the process of in vitro, and then implantation in a person with blood glucose issues.

Research to create new stem cells that will work with beta cells to produce insulin is in the making across the world. In Europe, pharmaceutical plant Novo Nordisk and San Diego’s ViaCyte are engineering this solution for diabetes.

Restoring insulin by gene therapy is not an easy task to complete and the scientists consider many variables. Research studies must consider how to avoid hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. The secretions are dependent on the cell’s capability to store insulin in secretory granules.

Maria Roncarolo and the biotech team at Stanford University in California did studies on mice. They looked at the effects of mice after their liver cells were injected with an insulin gene. The results of the transferring of insulin B were astonishing. Combining an antibody and the gene transfer reversed diabetes in mice.

New cells that secrete insulin will need to be able to adapt to alterations. These changes may include body weight fluctuations, the aging process, and new or lack of exercise regimen.