Stem cell treatment could reverse type 2 diabetes

Fri, 20 Mar 2015
Stem cell treatment could reverse type 2 diabetes, according to new research.

The study, published in Stem Cell Reports and conducted by scientists at the University of British Columbia and BetaLogics, is the first to indicate the therapeutic potential of stem cell treatment for type 2 diabetes. Previous research has indicated its potential in treating type 1 diabetes.

The study, which was conducted on mice, used a combination of specially-designed stem cells and type 2 diabetes drugs. The mice were given a high-calorie diet and type 2 diabetes. The researchers then implanted the mice with cells similar to those of a pancreas, which had been grown from humans.

The mice were separated into two groups. The first was given type 2 diabetes drugs in combination with the stem cells, and the second was given only type 2 diabetes drugs, without the stem cells.

The first group, those who were implanted with stem cells and given diabetes drugs, became as glucose-tolerant as a healthy group of mice fed a balanced diet. This means that their blood glucose levels did not spike after a meal. The second group of mice with type 2 diabetes did not see a similar improvement.

The first group of diabetic mice also returned to a healthy weight, around the same weight as the healthy mice that were fed a balanced diet.

Timothy Kieffer, professor of cellular and physiological sciences, said: "Being able to reduce spikes in blood sugar is important because evidence suggests it's those spikes that do a lot of the damage - increasing risks for blindness, heart attack, and kidney failure.

"Their weight loss was intriguing, because some of the common diabetes therapies often lead to weight gain.

"We need to do more studies to understand how the cell transplants lead to weight loss."
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