Cures for type 1 diabetes

Diabetes mellitus – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Only those type 1 diabetics who have received either a pancreas or a kidney-pancreas transplant (often when they have developed diabetic kidney disease (ie, nephropathy) and become insulin-independent may now be considered “cured” from their diabetes. A simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant is a promising solution, showing similar or improved survival rates over a kidney transplant alone.[36] Still, they generally remain on long-term immunosuppressive drugs and there is a possibility that the immune system will mount a host versus graft response against the transplanted organ.[35]

Transplants of exogenous beta cells have been performed experimentally in both mice and humans, but this measure is not yet practical in regular clinical practice partly due to the limited number of beta cell donors. Thus far, like any such transplant, it has provoked an immune reaction and long-term immunosuppressive drugs have been needed to protect the transplanted tissue.[37] An alternative technique has been proposed to place transplanted beta cells in a semi-permeable container, isolating and protecting them from the immune system. Stem cell research has also been suggested as a potential avenue for a cure since it may permit regrowth of Islet cells which are genetically part of the treated individual, thus perhaps eliminating the need for immuno-suppressants.

Microscopic or nanotechnological approaches are under investigation as
well, in one proposed case with implanted stores of insulin metered out
by a rapid response valve sensitive to blood glucose levels. At least
two approaches have been demonstrated in vitro. These are, in some sense, closed-loop insulin pumps.

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