(HealthDay News) — People with Diabetes type 1 They lack functional islet cells in their pancreas to produce the hormone insulin and they must receive it daily through injections or one bomb continues to compensate.
But if the new research is successful, some People with type 1 diabetes will no longer need to take insulin. The study of six people with type 1 diabetes found that an experimental form of islet stem cell therapy improves blood sugar control and reduces insulin needs, with three people no longer needing daily insulin.
Managed through an infusion, the VX-880 They are islet cells derived from stem cells They produce insulin and essentially replace dysfunctional islet cells in people with type 1 diabetes. The study was funded by the manufacturer of VX-880, Vertex Pharmaceuticals.
“Islet cells have the potential to cure diabetes, and I think this study is a big step in that direction,” said study author Dr. Trevor Reichman, surgical director of the Pancreas and Islet Transplant Program. at the Ajmera Transplant Center of the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is needed to help blood sugar, or glucose, enter cells, where it is used for energy. When there is insulin shortageglucose can build up, causing ssymptoms such as extreme fatigue, blurred vision, weight loss, and confusion. Stem cells can multiply exponentially and transform into different types of cells.
The cells used in VX-880 are grown in a laboratory. Once implanted, they transform into islet cells and can produce insulin. ”They are essentially ready-to-use but do take several weeks to produce before infusion,” Reichman said. In the new study, all people treated with VX-880 improved their glycemic control, as evidenced by the elimination of low blood sugar reactions, improvement in HbA1c (a snapshot of blood sugar levels over time) and the amount of time their blood sugar levels were within the recommended range over three months. As a result, these patients needed less insulin or no insulin at all.
“The impact… It was truly life changing.Reichman said. “All of these patients had long-standing, difficult-to-manage type 1 diabetes with life-threatening complications, including severe unperceived hypoglycemia.” Unperceived hypoglycemia means that a person cannot detect when his blood glucose is low, so he does not know that he needs to treat it.
Within three months, this was eliminated in all study participants. It is not yet known how long these effects will last. ”The patient with the longest follow-up is now two years old and maintaining insulin independence,” Reichman said. The investigation continues. The study showed that VX-880 is safe and no serious side effects were reported.
People need to take immunosuppressive medications to prevent rejection, which Reichman called a possible obstacle to broader use. “The future goal is to create a version of the treatment that does not require immunosuppressive therapy,” he said. The study is limited to people ages 18 to 65, but in the future, children may be included. The findings were presented Tuesday at a meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Hamburg, Germany.
Findings presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. Dr. John Buse is the director of the Diabetes Care Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
”The important thing here is that People do not need organ donors to have a source of insulin-producing cells for transplante,” said Buse, who reviewed the findings. The new stem cell treatment seems to work “pretty well,” she added. ”Patients have to take immunosuppression, but they had severe hypoglycemia before, so it’s a reasonable trade-off for having to take insulin,” Buse said.
More information. HealthDay has more information about type 1 diabetes.
Sources: Trevor Reichman, MD, surgical director, Pancreas and Islet Transplant Program, University Health Network Ajmera Transplant Center, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; John Buse, MD, PhD, director, Diabetes Care Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC; presentation, meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, Hamburg, Germany, October 3, 2023.
*Denise Mann Health Day Reporters © The New York Times 2023