Stem cell treatment for diabetes has been researched in recent years, and findings show that a cure could emerge in the future. Diabetes isn’t the only disease being looked into when it comes to this type of research. Spinal cord injuries, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, lung diseases and arthritis are among others being studied. For decades, scientists and researchers have been on the hunt for a solution that can replace the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin. These cells are destroyed in the immune system of diabetics.

An article published in the LA Times in 2007 stated that the progression for type 1 diabetes could be halted through the sure of a stem cell transplant. The procedure was shown to preserve the body’s deteriorating ability to create insulin, a vital hormone that keeps blood glucose levels under control. Although stem cell treatment for diabetes is still being researched, this was a milestone in diabetes treatment that gives hope to diabetics who constantly struggle to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. Although this medical breakthrough brings hope, it is far from glamorous because the process of stem cell transplantation is far from pretty. It involves a portion of the body’s immune system tissues being destroyed with dangerous radiation.

According to the American Diabetes Association, adult and embryonic stem cell research both have shown important advances in stem cell treatment for diabetes. The Irish Times reports that adult stem cells lead the way clinically in terms of success rate, trial numbers and commercial potential. Adult stem cells come from many organs and tissues in the body, including brain, bone marrow, peripheral blood, blood vessels, skeletal muscle, skin, teeth, heart, gut, liver, ovarian epithelium and testis. Embryonic stem cells come from embryos, many of which are develop from eggs that have been fertilized via in vitro fertilization and donated for research purposes with informed consent of the donors. This poses an ethical dilemma for some, making embryonic diabetic stem cell research controversial in the minds of many. Stem cells are unique from the body’s regular cells because they have the potential to become cells with special functions. The function scientists are trying to achieve in regards to diabetes is that stem cells become beta cells that produce the insulin that diabetics desperately need.


Embryonic Form of Diabetes Stem Cell Treatment Continues


Diabetes stem cell treatment may see in increase because of a recent change in the political climate. In 2001, President George W. Bush limited federal funding of embryonic stem cell research to a small number of stem cell lines that were in existence at the time. In 2009, President Obama expanded federal funding to more stem cell lines, meaning this form of diabetes stem cell treatment will continue to grow. Many scientists believe stem cell treatment diabetes will eventually bring a cure for type 1  diabetes as well as a powerful resource for keeping type 2 diabetes under control. Time will tell if embryonic stem cell research brings the promising results these scientists and researchers expect.