The use of stem cell diabetes cures in order to re-grow pancreatic cells has shown great promise in curing the mechanisms behind this disease and managing it. Diabetes mellitus is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States and according to the centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 190 million Americans suffer from this disease.
What is Stem Cell Diabetes:
Diabetes is called an auto-immune condition, because the body’s own immune system destroys the cells (called the Islets of Langham) that are responsible for regulating glucose (sugar) levels in the body. These cells are located in the pancreas and secrete insulin into the bloodstream in order to control the body’s blood sugar levels, when these levels get too high.
There are three different ways to acquire stem cells, one of which is constantly, hotly debated:
The first one is Embryonic Stem Cells, which is hotly debated on moral grounds and also on the viability of their use. The reason that embryonic stem cells are a source of controversy is due to the fact that the embryos must be destroyed in order to obtain the stem cells, and those that believe in the “Right To Life Movement” consider this the taking of life.
The reason that embryonic stem cells are favored by some scientists is because they are undifferentiated, which means that they have the capability to grow into any tissue, organ mass or cell within the body. However, embryonic stem cells can mutate after being implanted, and until scientists learn how to control the growth process this treatment is 100% certain.
The next type of stem cells that scientists are trying to utilize would be Adult Stem Cells. These cells are acquired from a donor or the use of the patients own cells to be transplanted.
Difference between stem cell diabetes and other types of stem cells:
The difference between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells, besides the moral implications, is that adult stem cells are not undifferentiated, in other words they are limited in the amount of different types of cells that they can produce, and they are limited to the part of the body that they are taken from.
The cells though that are taken from the donor pancreas should be capable of producing the cells that are needed by the receiving pancreas. The same problem however, arises as embryonic stem cells, the ability to control how the cells grow.
The last type of stem cells to be discussed here would be iPS Stem Cells or Pluripotent Stem Cells. The iPS stem cells are genetically altered skin cells by using DNA reprogramming and were discovered in 2007.
The iPS stem cells are the same as embryonic stem cells, without the controversy, in that they are undifferentiated and can transform or grow into any type of cell within the body, but as with embryonic and adult stem cells there is the problem with control and possible mutation into cancer cells.
The potential for success of stem cell diabetes cures, no matter their source is tremendous, especially when the problem of control is solved.