Breakthrough: Man Cured of Diabetes with Stem Cell Therapy

Chinese researchers have made tremendous progress in treating diabetes
Blood Test of Diabetes
Blood Test of DiabetesGoogle Photos

A 59-year-old man, who had been living with type 2 diabetes for 25 years, underwent a stem cell transplant in 2021 and has not required any medication since 2022.

The experimental procedure involved generating synthetic pancreatic cells, which are responsible for producing insulin and regulating blood sugar levels.

The patient had lost nearly all of the activity of these cells, called islets, after developing type 2 diabetes. He had been at high risk of fatal complications and required numerous insulin injections each day to prevent diabetic coma.

The human body naturally produces insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Pancreatic dysfunction causes people with diabetes to have difficulty controlling their blood sugar levels.

The Chinese example indicates that blood-sugar regulation can be restored without a patient's lifestyle being altered. Stem cells were used in the treatment, which can differentiate into brain, muscle, kidney, or even pancreatic tissue given the correct circumstances.

This therapy converted the patient's stem cells into pancreatic cells using a novel chemical cocktail.

These cells produce insulin, which tells the body when to pull sugar from the food for energy. In diabetics, the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar. Too much or too little sugar in the blood can cause nerve damage, kidney damage, heart disease and more.

The study, a collaboration between three institutions in Shanghai, has pushed boundaries in the field of regenerative medicine for the treatment of diabetes.

While more research is needed before this treatment can be widely accepted, it could be a huge step forward for the millions currently living with diabetes and those who will likely go on to develop the disease.

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