Of the different types of diabetes, type 1 is the severe form, which requires daily injections of insulin.
It is most often diagnosed in young adult and teenagers, although it can be found in even younger children.
Several years ago a study was undertaken to test a new form of treatment which involved the transplantation of a patient’s own stem cells alongside a course of chemotherapy.
To date twenty three diabetes sufferers have been studied and the results are promising but with consequences. Side effects included a lowering of sperm count for the men and one particular woman experienced lack of hormones relating to sex being made.[Estrogen Levels]
In general because of the long periods spent in hospital, the risk from infection was always a major concern. On the plus side a majority of those participating were able to spend a significant amount of time without taking insulin.
In one case, a diabetic was able to be drug free for over four years. The average was just under 3 years and in some cases irregular doses of insulin were required.
Treatment involving stem cells was initially seen as the possible cure for type 1 diabetes but this is now seen as pretty unlikely.
The condition means that the sufferers’ immune system is defective in that it destroys beta cells in the body’s pancreas. It is these cells that create insulin which is required to stop the build up of sugar in the blood stream.
Scientists need to find out how the distorted immune system in diabetics can be corrected, stem cells may not be the answer but any research provides hope for this disabling condition.