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Science could be well on its way to a cure for type 1 diabetes as researchers hone transplant therapies designed to restore a patient's ability to produce their own insulin. We've all read about the Ohio man who can now control his insulin and blood sugar levels without medication following a transplant of experimental stem cells. But this is just the beginning. More research is being done that could drastically change the lives of people living with type 1 diabetes. The following is an update on the latest research happening around the world.
Testing of a new artificial pancreas is beginning in England. A sensor under the skin continually monitors blood sugar levels, and a pump automatically adjusts the amount of insulin required. Although there has been a lot of news surrounding this technology, this is the first nationwide test of the technology in the world and comes 100 years after the first diabetes patient received insulin injections. To read more about it, click here.
Researchers at Rice University are using 3D printing and smart biomaterials to create an insulin-producing implant for type 1 diabetics. Bioengineers use insulin-producing beta cells made from human stem cells to develop an implant that senses and regulates blood glucose levels by automatically responding with the correct amount of insulin. The research is made possible by a grant from JDRF. To learn more about it click here.
Could the future of diabetes care lie in the field of artificial intelligence? Devices like continuous glucose monitors and health trackers such as Fitbits and Apple Watches are already becoming common practice for people with T1D. But it may have a more targeted use for doctors and help them track glucose patterns and treatment interventions more accurately. It was a topic of discussion in Barcelona, Spain, last month during the Advanced Technologies and Treatments for Diabetes Conference. To read more about AI and diabetes care, click here.
Experts continue to strive toward biologically engineered insulin that more closely mimics the action of insulin from the pancreas of someone without diabetes. Experts gathered last month to discuss the future of two different, once-weekly insulins that are currently being investigated in clinical trials. Each of these drugs requires only a single injection per week. To check out the details, click here.
Another topic discussed at the ATTD conference focused on the future of screening and prevention of T1D. Much of this discussion was about diagnosing T1D before diabetic ketoacidosis happens. To do this, researchers discussed a paradigm shift in how we screen the population in general. Earlier intervention could, and probably would, save lives. Read the entire article here.
Trials to replace pancreatic B cells that are destroyed by type 1 diabetes are raising hopes that a cure could actually happen. Their focus is not supplying the body with insulin, but rather replacing the B cells that make it. Many of these trials deal with using stem cells. Watch Dr. Richard Pratley discuss the future of stem cells below.