Source: Science News | Synthetic insulin cells made in the laboratory can be made into an effective treatment of diabetes in the future. Known to be huge leap in medical science...this treatment is being assumed to become more effective and patient friendly. “I think therapeutics of the future is going to look like this,” says Strano, one of the scientists involved in this project.
Affecting more than 400 million people across the world, diabetes or diabetes mellitus, is a disease characterised by increased blood glucose levels in the body. This is caused due to dysfunction of the beta cells of islets of langerhans in the pancreas that results in decreased insulin in the body. Insufficient insulin is responsible for reduced conversion of glucose to glycogen. This glucose gets accumulated in the body and gives rise to diabetes.
For the first time, the researchers have created synthetic cells that are replicas of insulin and can function the same way as insulin. These cells were injected in mice and the blood glucose levels were seen to be reduced in 5 days. Made from human-made materials and biological ingredients like proteins, these cells contain insulin-filled pouches much like the insulin-carrying compartments inside real beta cells. And, similar to a natural beta cell, when one of these artificial beta cells is surrounded by excess blood sugar, its insulin sacs fuse with its outer membrane and eject insulin into the bloodstream. As blood sugar levels drop, insulin packets stop fusing with the membrane, which stems the cell’s insulin secretion.
These artificial beta cells are known to be more precise and effective than the insulin with automated mechanical pumps. Even though these transplanted cells are seen to to be running out of insulin over time, but Rorsman (one of the researchers) believes that such artificial cells present a viable diabetes treatment.
"It’s slightly ahead of its time,” says Strano and these artificial insulin-releasing cells may make it easier to manage diabetes in a very near future.
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