A new stem cell treatment that produces insulin may be the start of curing diabetes globally.
For the first time in history, a Type 1 diabetes patient was cured of the disease with a new treatment, a clinical trial report claims, giving hope to millions around the world who may soon be able to live a normal life soon.
64-year-old Brian Shelton participated in a clinical trial by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, which has been testing a treatment for decades. He received his first cell infusion of stem cells, which acts like insulin-producing pancreas cells that his body lacked, earlier this year after the disease had completely taken over his life.
Shelton was the first patient to be injected on June 29.
After thirty years and over $50 million later, Vertex Pharmaceuticals has managed to completely cure a patient. Shelton’s body now “miraculously” completely controls its insulin and blood sugar levels automatically.
“It’s a whole new life,” Shelton said in The New York Times report. “It’s like a miracle.”
“It is a remarkable result,” Dr. Peter Butler, a diabetes expert at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in the report.
“To be able to reverse diabetes by giving them back the cells they are missing is comparable to the miracle when insulin was first available 100 years ago.”
What is diabetes?
Diabetes occurs when the body’s blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Normally, when that occurs, the brain signals the pancreas to release insulin, which acts as a key to letting the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.
Those with diabetes either do not make enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or the body cells are not responsive to the available insulin (type 2 diabetes).
When there isn’t enough insulin, blood sugar stays in the body’s bloodstream and over time can cause serious health problems, including heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
There has not been a cure for diabetes or any such hope until the latest medical discovery. Now, the study will continue for five years and will attempt to treat around 17 other people with a severe case of Type 1 diabetes.
If deemed successful, the study will give over 9 million people around the world who are suffering with the disease a chance to majorly change their life.
This will also have a major impact in Qatar, given that an estimate of 10% of Qatar’s total deaths is linked to diabetes. In addition, more than 17% of the Gulf nation’s population are known to have diabetes, which can greatly affect their health if not monitored and treated accordingly.
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