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Stem Cell Therapy In Diabetes Essay

1630 words - 7 pages

Stem cell therapy in diabetes.Stem cells offer a promising form of therapy in the treatment of diabetes. Diabetes mellitus is tragic disease which greatly reduces the individual's quality of life, as of yet it is unknown how to reduce the rapid increase in cases but it is thought that is genetic susceptibility being induced by the environment. (Todd, 2009) It is thought that by 2025 there will be 380 million sufferers worldwide. (McCall et al., 2010) Diabetes mellitus is a name given to a group of diseases which are characterised by high level of glucose present in the blood. The two main types of diabetes include diabetes type 1 where the body immune response attacks islet cells which are responsible for producing insulin one of the key hormones needed to regulate blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes which is characterised by insulin resistance as well as reduced secretion of insulin by beta cells. Type 1 diabetes is treated with insulin and islet cell transplantation however there is a shortage of donors and supply cannot meet demand as well as the impact of lifelong immunosuppression, hence alternative forms of treatment being investigated. (McCall et al., 2010)Figure 1: Showing the various sources of stems used in the production of insulin. Modified from (McCall et al., 2010)One promising treatment method is the use of stem cell therapy in the treatment of diabetes. Stem cells are undifferentiated, self maintaining cells defined by there functional characteristics which includes the ability to produced a large number of differentiated cells, which are fully functional as well as the ability to regenerate tissue after it has been injured. (Potten and Loeffler, 1990)There are two main catagories of stem cells which is illustrated in figure 2. the orange box includes stem cells found in adult tissue, whilst the green box highlights the embryonic stem cells. There are numerous different types of adult stem cells and sources are found in their organs which can be seen in fig.1. Which are being studied to produce fully functional beta cells, able to produce insulin in response to glucose providing a means of treating diabetes. Adult stem cells are limited in their capacity to differentiate into various types of cells. Due to ethical concerns, aiming to dedifferentiate or transdifferentiate stem cells from adult sources seems more viable as working with embryonic stem cells (ESCs) is under intense debate.Figure 2: Illustrates the different sources of stem cells and their potential of use in stem cell therapy listing there pros and cons. Modified from: table 1 (Burns et al., 2004)Looking at figure 2, it seems that human ESCs seem to show more promising results in comparison to somatic stem cells. The main difficulty in developing a source of beta cells using somatic stem cells it the accessibility of them, as they are difficult to isolate and expand. (Burns et al., 2004)Embryonic Derived Stem Cell transplantation:There have been numerous studies where...

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