The direct implantation of stem cells into the pancreas of type 2 diabetic individuals has been found to enhance the production of endogenous insulin. In addition, it has been associated with an increase in the C Peptide levels, and a subsequent decrease in blood sugar levels.
If approved, this autologus stem cell transplantation could save a majority of the diabetics from receiving insulin or drugs to stimulate the production of insulin. It is hypothesized that the transplanted stem cells regenerate the damaged Beta cells in diabetic individuals, leading to production of insulin.
The novel approach has been conducted on nearly 16 patients, diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The main advantage of the procedure is that it is a relatively safe and effective method, devoid of complications. The results of the study can be found in the Journal of the American Society of Cell Biology.
The patient's skin is cleaned with disinfectant solution and a small incision is made in the skin (over the inguinal region) following administration of local anesthesia. A very minute puncture is then made in the femoral artery. The extracted stem cells are then introduced directly into the pancreas through a synthetic tube (catheter).
With our improved understanding of stem cell biology and active research in stem cell transplantation, it would not be long before this new treatment can be instituted for cure of type to diabetes that affects more than 92% of patients, worldwide.