Diabetes is one of the deadliest diseases across the world. Over 422 million people worldwide are taking or intend to take diabetes-related medication. Interestingly, scientists across the world are striving hard to find a perfect treatment for chronic disease. But they only have been able to manage the symptoms related to diabetes. Those having diabetes can suffer from blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke. In recent years, diabetes cases have risen dramatically. Diabetes disorders are now four times higher than they were four decades ago. Today diabetes is the seventh most deadly disease in the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has even considered diabetes an epidemic. In this article, we shall discuss modern advancements that are leading towards finding a cure for diabetes.
Let’s dive in!
How Does Diabetes Affect People?
Diabetes is a condition that affects the formation of insulin and causes high blood sugar. Due to this condition, hormones that should produce glucose in our body are affected. There are mainly two types of diabetes conditions — type 1 and type 2. While type 1 diabetes is the most common health complication in which insulin-producing beta-pancreatic cells stop producing in our body. In type 2 diabetes, the body develops insulin resistance. This reduces blood sugar and increases the chances of developing major health complications. While the pharma and biotech industries have not been able to move beyond managing symptoms of diabetes, there are some advancements in the treatment that may become a promising cure for this deadly disease.
Advancements In Diabetes Treatment
Scientists are developing an advanced way of treating type 1 diabetes via cell therapy. In this, the insulin-producing cells that keep on deteriorating in diabetes patients undergo treatment to aid the normal insulin production in our body by transplanting pancreatic cells. Cell therapy is still in the early stages as it’s hard to implant cells due to our body’s immune reactions. The Diabetes Research Institute in the US has developed a new way of encapsulating insulin-producing cells. The institute got a breakthrough in the year 2016 when the first diabetic patient in Europe, who was treated via its therapy, showed signs of improvement. US firm Viacyte and JDRF are working on the engraftment of insulin-producing cells. Orgenesis, a Belgian company, is working on a model that uses cells from the liver to generate insulin-producing cells. A UK company called Islexa is applying a similar approach using cells from the pancreas.
Can Our Body Cure Itself?
A study by the University of Bergen researchers on diabetes found that cells in our body can do the job of curing the damaged insulin cells, which regulate blood sugar levels in our body. “We are possibly facing the start of a new form of treatment for diabetes, where the body can produce its insulin, with some start-up help,” said Researcher Luiza Ghila at the Raeder Research Lab, Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen (UiB). The researchers found that about 2 percent of the cells present in the pancreas can change identity. They found that cell therapy can increase the number of cells to 5 percent by using a drug that influences the inter-cell signaling process. These results have so far been shown in animal models only. More in-depth research is required to understand the effects on humans.
Advancements In Treatment For Type 2 Diabetes
Two different methods are being worked out to treat type 2 diabetes — boosting insulin production and attacking the microbiome. To boost insulin production in our body, researchers are working on glucagon-like peptides or GLP-1 receptor agonists. In this treatment, the harmful hormone glucagon’s secretion is suppressed that helps in the stimulation of insulin production. Most leading pharma companies including Sanofi, Eli Lilly, and AstraZeneca, among others, are working on GLP-1 drugs. The gut microbiome in our body has been responsible for causing diabetes and other chronic diseases. Diabetic patients develop an unbalanced microbiome composition. Researchers are working on fecal transplant in which the microbiome of a healthy person is transferred to a diabetic person, which results in an improvement in insulin production. Though this futuristic technique appears promising, there are still a lot of complexities involved in the process.
Can CBD Help In Diabetes?
CBD is a chemical compound extracted from the Cannabis Sativa or more commonly known as the hemp plant. Unlike its cousin, Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, CBD does not cause high or intoxication. When it comes to the CBD effect on diabetes, most studies have so far been done on animals, including mice or rats. A study done on mice with less blood flow to the brain, which is also a common problem among diabetic patients, revealed that it was able to reduce hyperglycemia or high blood sugar. It also helped in reducing cholesterol and even aided in insulin production. There are many other studies done on rats that revealed CBD can help soothe chronic inflammation and neuropathic pain, a common problem faced by diabetic patients. The regulated use of CBD also helps in the conversion of whole fat into slimming brown fat.
Overall, CBD has shown promise, though lab results on animals can not be considered as a full-proof cure. More in-depth research is the need of the hour to understand the full impact of CBD on diabetic patients. As CBD gains popularity across the world, its usage has also become widespread. People are finding various innovative ways to make it a part of their life. CBD can now be consumed or used on the body to gain multiple health benefits. Besides, THC has also shown signs of improvement in blood sugar and lipid levels, which is also a positive sign.
The Bottom Line
Scientists are working on all sorts of revolutionary technologies to find the perfect cure for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Many new techniques seem quite promising — like microchips and nanorobots. While microchips can detect diabetes even before symptoms appear, nanorobots go through our bloodstream and continuously keep the attack on glucose level and help in insulin production. Experts strongly believe that it’s a matter of time, probably 5-10 years, before we have a permanent solution for diabetes in micro-robotics. However, these research studies not only require large-scale funding but also the government will to initiate programs for diabetes eradication.