Cures for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have proved elusive to medical science.
Although people with type 2 diabetes can go into remission, at this stage there is no widely available, complication-free cure for type 1 diabetes.
However, the root causes and mechanism behind both forms of the disease are becoming more clearly understood all the time.
- Read more on the theory of how to reverse type 2 diabetes via lifestyle interventions.
Type 1 diabetes cure
Any attempts towards a cure have, at this stage, been beset with complications and have resulted in only temporary or incomplete cures at best.
Several potential cures for type 1 have been created, but in every case these solutions have only been temporary or partially been effective.
In most cases, however, the need remains for all patients to take immunosuppressive drugs and a return to insulin has so far been unavoidable.
Research into a diabetes cure is ongoing, however, and some of the finest medical minds in the world consider this their primary goal.
Type 2 diabetes remission and surgery
Clinical resolution or remission of type 2 diabetes is a rare but identified medical phenomenon.
Type 2 diabetes may go into remission either through dietary and fitness measures, or in some cases through gastric bypass surgery.
Many of us are holding out for a cure for diabetes to be announced. As of 2012, there is yet to be a cure for diabetes but research is making gradual progress in certain areas. In this video we will look at some of the avenues which researchers are currently exploring.
Researchers are working on vaccines to prevent someone with type 1 diabetes from losing their insulin producing cells. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system turns on its own insulin producing cells and periodically kills them off. A successful vaccine would prevent this from happening. To date, in 2012, the vaccine has been successful in rodents but vaccines have yet to demonstrate the same success in human trials.
Researchers are discovering more about the causes of type 2 diabetes but as yet there are no clear avenues for a cure. With this said, there has been success in reversing the development of type 2 diabetes. Methods which result in a significant loss of weight have been successful in helping people to control blood glucose levels and have allowed some people to come off their diabetic medication. Methods such as bariatric surgery and very low calorie diets have been successful in allowing patients to reduce dependency on medication.
Islet cell transplants are the perhaps the closest we’ve come to a cure for type 1 diabetes so far. Islet cell transplants involve injecting insulin producing islet cells into the body. Transplantation has helped people to significantly reduce insulin dosage requirements.
However, the benefits of transplantation tail off with time and people need to take quite powerful anti-immune drugs to prevent the body attacking the transplanted cells.
A number of companies are attempting to be the first to produce an artificial pancreas system. An artificial pancreas is likely to be worn outside of the body and would continuously measure blood glucose and deliver an appropriate amount of insulin. It would not necessarily be a cure, but would represent a way of treating type 1 diabetes without injections and without the continual dosing decisions.
However, this isn’t the case for all type 2 diabetes patients and needs further research before clear conclusions can be drawn.
Remissions may not be considered a cure, however, but it may mean type 2 diabetes patients can stop taking medication.
Transplanting for a diabetes cure
Transplanting exogenous beta cells is another form of potential cure that has been attempted, both amongst mice and humans.
However, similar to transplant procedures, this has provoked a strong reaction from the immune system, which attacks the transplanted tissue.
Other cell transplant procedures have been attempted, including stem cell research for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In most cases, the same mechanism that destroys beta cells in the first instance attacks stem cells.
Stem cell research
Stem cell research is a rapidly growing area of research that is uncovering important new avenues of study each year. Stem cell research has the potential to uncover new ways of treating both types of diabetes.
Stem cell research has been particularly effective in uncovering a new understanding of type 1 diabetes.
Another possible cure may one day come from the microscopic, nanotechnological spectrum. In this instance, tiny insulin implants could meter out insulin to blood glucose levels as and when it is required.
This type of cure is theoretically possible, and several scientists are working towards this future.
However, as with other forms of potential diabetes cure, this remains only a distant potential.
Medical science and progress towards a cure
Discoveries that may one day contribute to a diabetes cure do occur often, however. Be it better understanding of the immune system or discoveries in the natural world, advancement towards a diabetes cure may one day be possible.
However, at this stage a diabetes cure remains impossible.
Please check the Diabetes News for updates on potential diabetes cures and news of research on similar areas.