UBC Animal Study Shows Promising Results in Stem cell-based Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes
In a new research presented in the journal Stem Cell Reports, investigators reveal how a combo of stem cell transplantation and anti-diabetic medication successfully treated mice with type 2 diabetes.
Senior research author Timothy Kieffer of the University of British Columbia in Canada, and colleagues say the results could guide the way for the initial ever stem cell-based insulin replacement treatment being examined in humans with type 2 diabetes.
It is approximated that more than 29 million individuals in the US have diabetes. Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90-95% of these conditions. The situation occurs as a outcome of the body being not able to generate adequate of the hormone insulin or use it effectively. This results in high blood glucose levels.
To be able to manage blood glucose levels, sufferers with type 2 diabetes are usually treated with oral drugs – like metformin – insulin injections, or a combo of both. Kieffer and co-workers note, however, that such therapies can lead to gastrointestinal issues, weight gain and low blood glucose levels, and some sufferers may not even react to them.
With these factors in thoughts, the team examined a possible alternative therapy method for patients with type 2 diabetes.
Enhanced glucose metabolism, insulin sensitivity with beta cell transplantation
The team designed a mouse model of type 2 diabetes by inducing some markers of the condition in the animals – obesity, minimal response to insulin and high blood glucose levels – by providing them a high-fat diet.
ext, the team transplanted mice with encapsulated pancreatic progenitor cells produced from human embryonic stem cells. These cells made into fully-functioning beta cells – a kind of cell in the pancreas that generates insulin – resulting in the mice to experience better glucose metabolism and an enhancement in responsiveness to insulin.
What is more, mice that obtained stem cell transplantation in combo with antidiabetic drugs experienced fast weight loss, and – compared with either treatment alone – saw better improvements in glucose metabolism.
Kieffer and co-workers now prepare to test whether transplanting more mature beta cells into mouse models of type 2 diabetes – instead of pancreatic progenitor cells – could result in quicker alleviation of symptoms at a reduced dose.
The investigators think their method could reach clinical studies in humans, specifically since a identical method has recently been accepted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada for examining in sufferers with type 1 diabetes. Kieffer comments:
“Success in these clinical studies could lead the way for testing in sufferers with type 2 diabetes. Our wish is that a stem cell-based technique to insulin replacement will eventually enhance glucose control in sufferers with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes”.