By Dr Pradeep Mahajan
Diabetes is present globally. Among the different types, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are most common. Type 1 diabetes, commonly starts at an early age (Juvenile diabetes) and occurs because the insulin producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed by the body’s own immune system. The result is high blood glucose, which can only be managed with life-long insulin.
Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, develops later in life (commonly after 40 years of age), due to insulin resistance. Different harmful factors accumulated in the body over the years interfere with the function of the pancreas to maintain blood glucose levels. Patients therefore are advised oral anti-diabetic medicines or insulin.
The type of diabetes does not matter because the patient is ultimately “jailed-for-life” and has no choice but to continue medicines/insulin, along with compromising on diet.
Regenerative medicine allows long-term, effective control of blood sugar levels by helping the pancreas heal. The problem in type 1 diabetes is with a wrong immune response of the body to its own cells. Cell-based therapy corrects this problem through its immunomodulatory property.
In type 2 diabetes, the body does produce insulin, which is required to maintain normal blood glucose levels, but is not utilized properly. Cell-based therapy addresses this dysfunction by detoxifying the body, repairing damaged tissues, along with reducing systemic inflammation that have accumulated through years of unhealthy lifestyle habits. This ultimately leads to more efficient utilization of insulin and gradual improvement in symptoms.
Children with type 1 diabetes would be the happiest with this therapy because they will not have to be pricked with the insulin syringe everyday. Considering that the source of stem cells is mostly from the patient’s own body, the issue of safety or rejection of treatment by the body does not arise. Moreover, the process is minimally invasive; therefore, can be performed in patients irrespective of their age. In fact, children tend to show better results in a shorter duration because they are in their growing stages.
Cell-based therapy capitalises on the natural healing potential of the body, which is generally higher in younger individuals. Along with better control of blood glucose levels, complications of diabetes can also be prevented or delayed because the regenerative ability of stem cells creates a healthier environment for cells and tissues to function. Of course, lifestyle modifications will also be required to ensure that the patients stay free of diabetes. A holistic protocol of cell-based therapy, lifestyle/dietary modifications, and exercise will ensure better control of blood glucose levels and enhanced quality of life.
(The author is Urosurgeon and Regenerative Medicine Researcher, StemRx. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult health experts and medical professionals before starting any therapy or medication. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)