Type II diabetes cure may soon be available through stem cell therapy, reveals PGI study

PGIMER may soon start treating Type II diabetes patients using stem cell therapy.

A study conducted by the Department of Endocrinology's doctors has revealed the efficacy of the therapy, so much so that the patients injected with stem cells required 50 per cent less insulin as compared to those who were not administered the stem cells.

The study, sponsored by the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), PGIMER used stem cells to treat a group of patients having Type II diabetes or metabolic disorder that is characterised by high blood glucose while another set of patients was given "placebo treatment" or dummy treatment.

"Eighty per cent of people benefited after stem cell treatment and this group of patients have been under regular follow-up for the past three years. The study showed that stem cells in one set of patients were actually working to maintain the blood sugar levels. These patients also emphatically showed improvement in functioning of their pancreas, said Dr Anil Bhansali, HOD.

Significantly, another set of patients who were given placebo treatment, wherein a patient feels he is being treated with medicines while actually he/she is not, also showed some reduction in insulin requirement. However, their improvement was very insignificant as compared to the other group and was not scientifically sustainable.

However, Dr Bhansali added that it will take years of research before the stem cell therapy is taken as a line of treatment for such patients. The cost of this treatment is Rs 20,000 per shot and the patient's own stem cells are derived and are injected back in the body.

Type 2 diabetes is characterised by two defects - insulin resistance and insulin deficiency. The former is fairly constant, with beta cell function progressively deteriorating and majority of patients finally being on insulin.

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