Artificial pancreas: New hope for diabetics?
June 7th, 2017, Editor: Janina Widhammer
Diabetes severely restricts the lives of those affected. However, new results could lead to a breakthrough in diabetes research: An artificial pancreas could automatically deliver the required amount of insulin to the body!
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system kills most of its insulin-producing beta cells. As insulin regulates our blood glucose, type 1 diabetics must regularly inject the hormone.
The daily life of a diabetic is usually quite strictly planned, because every meal taken has an effect on the blood sugar content. This strongly restricts life in many areas.
Islet cells are implanted in the omentum
Islet cell transplants have already shown in previous studies that natural insulin production can be replaced. The insulin-producing cells were first implanted in the liver, but there they caused complications quite often.
The scientists at the Diabetes Research Institute in Miami have therefore concentrated on the omentum, a tissue that covers abdominal organs. About a year ago, they implanted islet cells in a woman’s abdomen. The inserted islet cells automatically release insulin and thus facilitate the life of the patients to a high degree.
Insulin injection is no longer necessary
The results after the first year of the transplant give new hope to patients: One year after the woman was implanted an artificial pancreas, the cells still do their job.
As insulin no longer needs to be delivered into the body via injections or an insulin pump, the woman can live a normal life without keeping an eye on her blood sugar content.
The hope of diabetes research
The latest findings suggest that the omentum (the diaphragm in the abdominal cavity) is the perfect place for an artificial “mini-organ” that mimes the pancreas. The positive response of the patient to the transplant could be the first step to help millions of people live normal, healthy lives.
Source of title image: Futurism / Youtube