Type 2 diabetes usually occurs in adulthood, accounting for more than 90% of diabetes cases, often due to poor diet, lack of exercise and obesity. A new research has now revealed that type 2 diabetes could be effectively cured with a combination of specially-cultured stem cells and conventional diabetes drugs.
Previous studies by UBC scientists had shown that stem cells could reverse Type 1 diabetes in mice. Now, this new research has found that stem cells can cure Type 2 diabetes also.
Scientists at University of British Columbia and BetaLogics, part of Janssen Research and Development, LLC conducted experiments on mice put on a high-fat and calorie diet, by stimulating them with Type 2 diabetes, for several weeks. Then pancreatic-like cells that had been grown from human cells were surgically implanted in the study mice. It was found that mice who had received a combination of the cells with one of three diabetes drugs became glucose tolerant, whereas mice stimulated with Type 2 diabetes, stimulated with drugs and not the transplants remained glucose-intolerant.
An important observation made during the experiment was that, mice were able to reduce spikes in blood sugar levels, those spikes that are responsible to cause damage and increase risk for blindness, heart attack and kidney failure. Another unexpected result of the experiment was that the mice turned to a normal weight, same as was of a healthy control group that had been kept on a low-fat diet.
The results appear in Stem Cell Reports.