Scientists from the University of California and Yale University have come up with a better way to treat diabetics that rely on daily injections of insulin to keep their blood sugar under control; they harvest certain cells called “T-regs” from the blood of the patient and then fortify it to be much stronger, and then reinfuse it back into the blood where it works for up to one year without the need for the patient to inject daily insulin anymore.

In study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the researchers say the new experimental treatment could mean that the end has come for daily injections of insulin, after T-regs have been empowered to boost the immune system to fight for itself.

Millions of people suffer from diabetes worldwide, but those have type 1 diabetes have to inject daily doses of insulin to boost insulin-secreting cells in their pancreas. T-regs are like peacekeeping cells which protect the cells that make insulin from attacks by the immune system. The problem with type 1 diabetics is that they lack sufficient T-regs.

What the researchers did was to harvest T-regs from the body and then empower it to be 1,500 times stronger in potency, and then re-infused them back into the body where they rule out the need for daily insulin injection for up to one year.

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Dr. Jeffrey Bluestone, a professor of metabolism and endocrinology at the University of California in San Francisco noted that the new therapy is a game-changer for diabetics after a successful trial was run on 14 people.

Prof. Bluestone said the researchers had used engineered T-regs to re-educate the immune system to be compliant to the body’s functions; and that T-regs could be applied in the future to life-changing diabetes therapy. This is a great hope because tests show the procedure rules out the need to daily insulin injections and also stops diabetes from getting worse, a development that can cause gradual blindness and limb amputations in future for patients.

Furthermore, the team of researchers holds on to the hopes that T-reg treatments may later be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, obesity, and other autoimmune diseases, neurological diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.


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