Johnson & Johnson, which has been continuing its long quest for the Type 1 diabetes cure, is seeing joining forces with ViaCyte, a biotech company in order to speed up development of the first stem cell treatment of Diabetes. This treatment could fix the life-threatening hormonal disorder.
Johnson & Johnson, ViaCyte testing possible diabetes cure!
The said therapy involves inducing the embryonic stem cells in a lab dish, so that they turn into insulin-producing cells. Then the same is being put inside a small capsule, which is then implanted under the skin. This capsule protects the cells from the immune system that otherwise would attack them as invaders, a roadblock which has stymied other research projects.
ViaCyte and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen BetaLogics group said that they have agreed to combine their knowledge and also hundreds of patents on the research under ViaCyte, a longtime J&J partner focused on regenerative medicine.
Furthermore, they have already begun testing the same in a small number of diabetic patients. And, if this works in patients as well as it has worked in animals; then this would amount to a cure, thus, ending the need for frequent insulin injections and also the blood sugar testing. This treatment is the first tested in patients, according to the ViaCyte.
And, if this project succeeds, then the product would be available for Type 1 diabetes patients in several years. And, down the road it would also treat insulin-using Type 2 diabetics.
People who have Type 1 diabetes no longer produce insulin, the hormone which converts sugar in the blood into energy. It’s because their immune system has killed off the beta cells in the pancreas. And, those cells make insulin in response to rising blood sugar levels after a meal.
Type 2 diabetes increasing exponentially due to obesity
Dr. Tom Donner, director of the diabetes centre at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said, ‘It’s like making a new pancreas that makes all the hormones needed to control blood sugar’.
He further added, ‘It’s going to prevent millions of diabetics from getting dangerous complications’.
Over the years, excess sugar in the bloodstream tends to damage blood vessels and organs. And, without effective treatment, diabetics even suffer severe complications, which include blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart disease and even premature death. While, on the other hand, too much insulin can even cause very low blood sugar that can kill patients, particularly young children.
According to the American Diabetes Association, around 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, which includes 1.25 million with type 1 diabetes. The number with Type 1, or insulin-dependent, diabetes is growing steadily.
Meanwhile, the number with Type 2 diabetes, whose bodies makes some insulin but don’t use it efficiently, is increasing exponentially due to the global epidemic of obesity and sedentary lifestyles. Many patients can’t control it well because they don’t follow proper schedules, while some can’t afford the expensive medicines.