Diabetes and the Way It Forward

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Diabetes and the Way It Forward

 

Diabetes and the Way It Forward:

The grim facts of the epidemic that is diabetes 422 million people have diabetes The number is expected to rise to 642 million by 2040 That’s a staggering number that only promises to rise unless there is a cure waiting in the future.

A lot is being done. It is one of the leading causes that is driving the medical industry forward. More mainstream coverage has its eyes on it than ever before.  Every single individual in eleven people is suffering from either type 1 or type 2 diabetes It is now the seventh leading cause of death around the world The total cost of diabetes in the US alone is $322 billion. This has caused the World health organization to declare diabetes as an epidemic.

The numbers alone are moving enough to make us think there should be a cure by now. But the answer is no. We don’t have solid answer for this. But that does not mean nothing is being done by the medical world. The biotech and pharmaceutical industry is moving at an emergency fast pace in order to come up with the Holy Grail. The lack of a cure does not mean that there haven’t been little successes in this regard. We can hope that whatever little successes mankind achieves accumulates into something big down the line. And that’s exactly where we are headed.

The difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is often misunderstood among the masses. A large number of people don’t seem to distinguish between the two unless there is a family member diagnosed with it. Here is a simple analogy to understand the difference.

Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

In type 1, the key is lost so we can’t open the lock. Our pancreas stops producing insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the key is either not enough or the lock does not accept it and becomes resistant to it. That is, insulin is produced by the pancreas, but it is either not in enough quantity or the cells that are supposed to receive.  

It’s only a matter of time, since we understand diabetes so nicely, that a cure sticks its head out of the sand. There have been some leaders and movers that are trying their best to chase the seemingly unknown as of now. Let’s take a look at what’s being done in the industry at the moment

Cell Therapy

In theory, this is the perfect solution and it’s easy to understand. Replacing cells that don’t produce insulin anymore sounds great on paper, to cure the patients suffering from Type 1 diabetes. We can say we are trying to replace the key.  Practically speaking, most attempts have failed due to immune reactions and lack of donors.

However, there is still hope because the nature of the reasons cited show that this is still too early and the practical implementation is in its infant stages. There is still a lot of room for improvement and like everything; this process has the potential to evolve over time.

The cells which are implanted in are destroyed by the bodies’ immune system. However, there is a solution to that. Diabetes Research Institute(DRI) tried to put the cells in the body in a protective layer that is going to stop the body from attacking the cells are that are perceived to be as outsiders.

A successful attempt was claimed by DRI and that the patient no longer relies on insulin.

Immunotherapy

There is another cure that intends to stop the immune system from destroying the key. The cells that produce insulin, in type 1 diabetes are destroyed until there is nothing left over a period of time. It’s a process that takes time.

The solution plans on stopping the destruction from getting to the point of no return. React while there is some left in the body.

Actobio Therapeutics has come up with something interesting. They are trying to develop drugs that are going to stimulate the cells in a manner that they are going to instruct the immune system of the body to not destroy the insulin-producing cells. To make the drugs, they are using cheese as the company intends to use only food-grade components in their operations.

Neovacs, also have solutions in the pipeline, planning to delay the progression of type 1 diabetes.

Artificial Pancreas

This sounds too revolutionary to be true. At least in the near future

Engineers and thinkers are planning to develop an artificial pancreas that would not look anything like the real one. Early plans suggest that computers will be replacing the organs. An algorithm is being designed to measure the amounts being needed by the patients suffering from type 1 diabetes. The results will then be used to make the pancreas do what is needed.

It will measure the glucose levels in the bloodstream and then the right amount of insulin will be released, just as the real one is supposed to do.

French company Cellnovo has joined hands with Horizon 2020 program, Imperial College and Diabeloop consortium to take the theory and turn it into a reality.

Increasing Insulin Production

Sounds about right. Big Pharma companies are taking this approach in tackling the Type 2 diabetes. Novo Nordisk is taking the lead and coming up with first ever oral drug that aims to increase the insulin production. The drug is very close to being available to the public.

To cater to the obesity factor in type 2 diabetes, German MorphoSys plans to introduce an antibody that will reduce fat, prevent insulin resistance and control excessive eating.

The Microbiome

A microbiome is a microorganism that is there in a particular environment. It is on our body, inside our body and on every part of our body. There are various types and they perform multiple functions from protecting us against germs, produce vitamins to helping us in metabolism and digestion.

The gut microbiome, if it has unbalanced composition can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Changing it up and restoring the composition to a healthy state, can improve insulin resistance. Experiments have been conducted where microbiomes were transferred through a transplant, from a healthy person to a person with diabetes, showed short term improvement by reducing the insulin resistance.

The future of Diabetes!

We can feel satisfied that the people involved are taking the required initiative in the diabetes world. Theories, practical, and experiments are all pointing towards a future that is hopeful and diabetes free.