Diabetes Research: 6 Emerging Scientific Breakthroughs that could lead to a Cure for This Chronic Condition

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) is a common medical condition that has affected 422 million people in the world. It is a growing global epidemic that is causing a significant socioeconomic burden on nations. Since the traditional methods of treatment have significant side effects and have not addressed the disease’s underlying causes, new options for managing diabetes mellitus are emerging quickly.

Diabetes Testing

Diabetes Testing

Nanomedicine

Nanomedicine is the term used to describe the use of nanotechnology in medicine. Nanotechnology is being used to develop more effective and non-invasive methods of delivering insulin, such as gene- and cell-based treatments for type 1 diabetes. It involves the utilization of nanoparticles, which are created by adjusting certain molecules or atoms within a material. The measurement of beta cell mass is a test of pancreatic functionality; low mass means reduced beta cells, which is a pointer toward type 2 DM. Early clinical intervention may be possible if nanotechnology enables prompt detection of the stage of beta cell loss. With this technique, regular screening can also be instituted. Continuous glucose monitoring is essential in the management of diabetes, which is often not adhered to due to its cumbersomeness. However, a patient-friendly glucose-sensing device made up of nanoparticles can seamlessly detect and notify individuals of their glucose levels.

Gene Therapy

Even though gene therapy is primarily used for type 1 DM, scientists have noticed gene variations in type 2 DM. About 75 different gene loci have been discovered via genetic studies. This may have a significant influence on drug response, and there are numerous genetic loci that may be used in T2DM gene therapy. The inhibition of the NLRP3 gene reduces the destruction of beta islet cells, controls inflammation, and generally prevents the emergence of type 2 DM in mice.

Stem Cell Therapy

The ability of islet cells to rebuild is the idea behind stem cell therapy. This is aimed at replacing damaged islet cells by utilizing pluripotent islet cells from donors. Technology advancements have made it easier to create stem cells from a variety of tissue sources, including bone marrow, skin, umbilical cord blood, dental pulp, periosteum, and adipose tissue. Scientists have carried out an experiment that differentiated the bone marrow cells of mice into functional beta-islet cells.

Hormone Therapy

Novel research from the UMass Chan Medical School reveals findings that could result in potential treatment for type 2 DM and even other metabolic disorders. A fat-to-liver axis has been identified in the study, which may be pharmaceutically accessible for the development of a custom hormone therapy to counteract the metabolic pathology resulting from fat-induced gene signaling, which includes the development of type 2 diabetes. These observations were made in mice, and arrangements are underway to replicate them in humans.

Beige Cell Therapy

It is well known that obese people have a higher risk of developing type 2 DM. People with fat accumulation around their abdomen are especially at increased risk than those with accumulation in the lower aspect of the body. A clinical study headed by the UMass Memorial Diabetic Center for Excellence has revealed that creating brown fat stem cells (beige cells) and transplanting them into mice improves metabolism. Brown adipose tissue improves glucose metabolism and insulin insensitivity in humans. These findings could be tested on humans, providing an alternative to lifelong diabetic medications.

Genetic Engineering

Today, technological advancements in the health field provide us with tools for editing genes. CRISPR is a gene-editing tool that enables scientists to add and delete genes; it has been utilized by scientists in curing genetic-related diseases. CRISPR can be used to turn white fat into brown fat, which helps to control glucose and insulin metabolism.

Conclusion

As of right now, type 2 DM has no known permanent cure. Many treatment plans have demonstrated encouraging outcomes in the management of the disease.

References

Aloke, C., Egwu, C. O., Aja, P. M., Obasi, N. A., Chukwu, J., Akumadu, B. O., Ogbu, P. N., & Achilonu, I. (2022, September 29). Current Advances in the Management of Diabetes Mellitus. Biomedicines. Retrieved November 22, 2023, from https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines10102436

Veiseh, O., Tang, B., Whitehead, K. et al. Managing diabetes with nanomedicine: challenges and opportunities. Nat Rev Drug Discov 14, 45–57 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrd4477

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