FRIDAY, Feb. 25, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Science could be well on its way to a cure for type 1 diabetes, as researchers hone transplant therapies designed to restore patients’ ability to produce their own insulin, experts say.
At least one patient — a 64-year-old Ohio man named Brian Shelton — can now automatically control his insulin and blood sugar levels without the need for medication, following a transplant of experimental pancreatic stem cells.
Shelton’s therapy isn’t a perfect cure. He must take a heavy dose of immune-suppressing drugs to keep his body from rejecting the transplant, and those drugs pose their own health hazards.
But the therapy created by Vertex Pharmaceuticals could provide immediate relief to thousands who are lined up for a pancreas transplant because their type 1 diabetes has progressed to the point where it’s life-threatening, said Sanjoy Dutta, chief scientific officer for JDRF International.
Some of these folks are suffering hypoglycemic shock and landing in an emergency room multiple times a month, while others have developed resistance to the insulin shots or other diabetes medications that have helped keep them alive.
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