When Will We Have a Cure for Diabetes?

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It's probably one of those things where people say a cure for diabetes is five years away and always will be. We always hear about improvements in medicine and breakthroughs that make it seem as though a cure is around the corner. I think currently there's a lot of exiting information for people who have type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes even though it's less common and it's often harder to control the sugars, is actually a simpler disease to understand because type 1 diabetes results from nothing more than insulin deficiency. We in some cases can transplant insulin producing cells back into an individual, and this is still experimental partly because of the shortage of cells necessary for transplantation.

But with stem cell technology we can actually produce insulin, we can actually make insulin producing cells from stem cells, and so it maybe that at some point it will be relatively routine to inject stem cells that have been transformed into insulin producing cells in the body of a person with type 1 diabetes.

Now of course I say that globally and we know that there are a thousand steps from here to there and lot of years, but it's not so easy conceive, it's not so difficult I should say to conceive of how you might treat type 1 diabetes in that way. There's also hope for insulin pumps that react automatically to blood sugar fluctuations and might really alleviate a lot of the necessity of testing and injecting insulin for people.

For type 2 diabetes actually it's more common, but it's more complicated, it's tied into obesity and the physiology of the fat cells in and around the liver primarily. I think we're much further away from the cure there except that an awful lot of people who have type 2 diabetes would lose it if they would get down to appropriate body weight.