Chinese scientists uncover potential cure for diabetes with innovative cell therapy

Chinese scientists uncover potential cure for diabetes with innovative cell therapy

The patient became insulin-independent within 11 weeks of transplantation.

In a promising development for millions of people suffering from diabetes, researchers in China have reported a potential cure using cell therapy. The study, published in the journal Cell Discovery, details the successful treatment of a 59-year-old man suffering from type 2 diabetes.

The patient, who had been battling the disease for 25 years and was dependent on daily insulin injections, underwent an innovative cell transplant in July 2021. The procedure involved creating lab-grown replicas of the insulin-producing islet cells found in the pancreas, which were then transplanted into the patient.

According to a report South China Morning Post, The treatment proved remarkably successful. Within eleven weeks, the patient no longer required external insulin. Over the next year, he gradually reduced and eventually stopped taking oral medication for blood sugar control. Follow-up examinations confirmed restored function in the patient's pancreatic islet cells, allowing him to remain medication-free for more than 33 months.

Although this is a single patient case, experts see it as a significant breakthrough in cell therapy for diabetes. Professor Timothy Kiefer, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, called it “a significant advance in the field.” However, further large-scale trials are needed to confirm the efficacy and safety of this approach before it can be widely used as a treatment.

This news brings a ray of hope for millions of people suffering from diabetes. More research is needed, but this successful cell therapy trial could lead to a future free from this disease.

Diabetes around the world

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) paints a worrying picture: by 2021, an estimated 537 million adults aged 20-79 years already had diabetes. This number is projected to reach 643 million by 2030 and 783 million by 2045. This means that 1 in 8 adults globally is projected to have diabetes by 2045, an increase of 46%.

Even more worrying is the unequal distribution of this burden. Shockingly, 3 out of 4 adults with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries. These statistics highlight the growing global challenge of diabetes and the urgent need for effective prevention and management strategies, particularly focused on supporting developing countries.

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