Diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) disease marked by high levels of sugar in the blood. It is also known to be a group of diseases characterized by abnormally high levels of the sugar glucose in the bloodstream. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to control blood sugar. Diabetes can be caused by too little insulin, resistance to insulin, or both.
To understand diabetes, it is important to first understand the normal process by which food is broken down and used by the body for energy. Several things happen when food is digested:
• A sugar called glucose enters the bloodstream. Glucose is a source of fuel for the body.
• An organ called the pancreas makes insulin. The role of insulin is to move glucose from the bloodstream into muscle, fat, and liver cells, where it can be used as fuel.
People with diabetes have high blood sugar. This is because:
• Their pancreas does not make enough insulin
• Their muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond to insulin normally
• Both of the above
There are three major types of diabetes:
• Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood. Many patients are diagnosed when they are older than age 20. In this disease, the body makes little or no insulin. Daily injections of insulin are needed. The exact cause is unknown. Genetics, viruses, and autoimmune problems may play a role.
• Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1. It makes up most of diabetes cases. It usually occurs in adulthood, but young people are increasingly being diagnosed with this disease. The pancreas does not make enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels normal, often because the body does not respond well to insulin. Many people with type 2 diabetes do not know they have it, although it is a serious condition. Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common due to increasing obesity and failure to exercise.
• Gestational diabetes is high blood glucose that develops at any time during pregnancy in a woman who does not have diabetes. Women who have gestational diabetes are at high risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life.
Each year many people with type 1 diabetes receive whole-organ pancreas transplants. However, the demand for transplantable pancreases outweighs their availability. To prevent the body from rejecting the transplanted pancreas.Hence biotecnological methods have come to the limelight.Over the past several years, doctors have attempted to cure diabetes by injecting patients with pancreatic islet cells.
EMBEDED ISLET CELLS:
A technology developed to encapsulate or embed islet cells derived from islet stem or progenitor cells in a material that would allow small molecules such as insulin to pass through freely, but would not allow interactions between the islet cells and cells of the immune system. Such encapsulated cells could secrete insulin into the blood stream, but remain inaccessible to the immune system.
SERTOLI CELLS MAY HOLD KEY FOR TYPE 1 DIABETICS:
The testicular Sertoli cell keeps the human body's immune system from destroying a man's sperm. This same cell might create an immunologically protective environment for transplanted pancreas islets and could provide new hope for diabetics whose bodies reject those transplants.
STEM CELLS TO THE RESCUE:
Stem cells differentiate in vivo to produce the desired kind of cell and hence these stem cells can be used as a very effective agent to cure diabetes.
In this paper we are trying to speak about the use of emryonic and adult stem cells as a therapy for treating diabetes.
A NEW PHASE TO NANOTECHNOLOGY:
Nanobiotechnology has created breakthroughs in nanotechnology, especially in molecular biology and pharmaceutical biology. In the field of oncology, Molecular biologists and nanotechnologists are researching on the synthesis of co-polymers more friendly to anti-cancer drugs by characterization and application of natural emulsifiers like phospholipids, cholesterols and molecularly modified vitamins, surface medication techniques and nanoparticle techniques thereby increasing the speed and power of disease diagnostics. Another venture in medical nanotechnology is the nanoparticle drug delivery system that shows promise as a potential way to administer insulin and perhaps other protein-based drugs by mouth rather than injection or nasal sprays. Loading insulin into nanospheres made from chitosan, a natural carbohydrate polymer material obtained commercially from shells of shrimp that is nontoxic and biocompatible. When given to diabetics, the insulin-loaded nanoparticles successfully reduced blood sugar levels. Targeted nanobubble that contains therapeutics, manipulated by regional ultrasound insonation has come into limelight. This helps in the treatment of infectious diseases in humans and animals more quickly and more accurately than ever before.
About Author / Additional Info:
A scientific writer