Science is a field that touches the lives of many. Every day, scientists look for ways that can help improve the standard of living of human beings. This is what has led to the discovery of a possible solution for diabetes. It is believed that if this result consistently tests positive, diabetes will no longer be a threat to the human race.
Where It Started
The discovery was made by a team of researchers based in Harvard University. In an experiment performed on mice, the scientists realized that sugar levels were reduced after injecting beta cells into their blood. These cells are damaged in the immune system of patients who suffer from Type 1 diabetes.
How Does It Work?
Beta cells are responsible for the production of insulin in the pancreas. When its production is reduced, the organism is likely to have diabetes. This condition was observed among obese mice which were used in the experiment. It is speculated that obese people also have low production of beta cells and hence increase in the possibility of having diabetes.
This knowledge fostered the development a hormone called betatrophin. The work of this hormone is to increase the production of more beta cells to secret more insulin and then convert excess glucose to glycogen, which is then stored in the muscles. The effect of betatrophin was observed to be positive as it aided production of more beta cells by about 30 times its original rate. While this has only been tested on mice, there are hopes that this will cure both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Evidence for the possibility of the cure is also seen in pregnant women. The blood sugar level of a pregnant woman is higher than normal, yet she still survives during the period because more beta cells are released during pregnancy. The beta cells control insulin production and blood sugar level.
The whole procedure has taken up to 15 years to get to this stage and according to Professor Doug Melton, the leader of the research team; it may still take few more years to become established. If it turns out successful, treatment of Type 1 diabetes will take a maximum of 10 days. The breakthrough will help in saving more lives and bring the cost of diabetes treatment to the barest minimum.