News on Health & Science

Diabetes Stem Cell Therapy Patients Show Remarkable Improvement

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Cellonis, a Beijing and HK-based biotech company, with its new personalized diabetes treatment concept has demonstrated an amazing improvement in their treated patients’ conditions. The ongoing clinical study shows the treatment’s best case could reconstruct a patient’s natural insulin production and even reverse later complications like kidney failure. Treated patients may have the chance to return to the normal activities non-diabetes sufferers take for granted.

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The clinical study, jointly conducted by scientists and doctors of the Cellonis clinical research team, aims to help patients be free from insulin and oral drugs, by reconstructing their natural insulin production damaged by either autoimmune disorder (T1DM) or hyperglycemia and also improve insulin sensitivity (T2DM). Using injections of autologous stem cells from the patient’s bone marrow, the research team believes that this therapy could help patients return to a life without annoying everyday injections and drugs.

“Most of the patients in our clinical study are now taking less synthetic insulin or oral drugs for BG control,” says Dr. Chase Dai, Chief Medical Officer at Cellonis. “We appear to have restored the biological insulin producing function of the body. We are excited to see that some patients have been treatment-free for five months now, and we believe the effect of the stem cell therapy can last much longer. We were also encouraged by some other happy surprises during the clinical study.

“For example, this therapy appears to reverse chronic kidney failure. It was a surprise for all of my team to observe that the kidney function of a 75- year-old patient improved remarkably.”

This patient had suffered from diabetes for years, gradually developing diabetic foot and nephropathy. He can now walk freely after having been confined to bed or a wheelchair for six months, and his quality of life has improved significantly. Moreover, he only needs kidney dialysis one time a week instead of three times. In a follow-up visit he excitedly told us that he was hopeful that in the near future he could be completely rid of diabetes.

Diabetes, an increasingly spreading disease, can lead to life-threatening diseases such as blindness, amputation, strokes, or kidney failure in its natural course. Current treatments, including insulin, cannot change this situation.

“We believe that our stem cell therapy will bring promising hope for patients suffering from diabetes and its complications,” comments Cindy Hao, CEO of Cellonis. “Personalized diabetes therapies for patients of various conditions will be developed by Cellonis in the near future. We believe what we have restored for patients will not only be their natural insulin production, but also a normal life filled with the activities non-diabetes sufferers can enjoy daily.”

Cellonis Biotechnologies focuses on R&D and the clinical application of novel personalized stem cell therapies and immunotherapies for patients with diseases including cancer, diabetes and central nervous system disorders.

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Diabetes Hope – Successful Pilot Study of Immature Adult Stem Cells


Pancreas cells to produce insulin

Source: Elements4Health June 24th. 2010

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Sweet remedy

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A protein, a by-product of natural insulin production, reduces heart complications in diabetics.  Reports on the outcome of a new study :-

Doctors have known for a long time that diabetes is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. If uncontrolled sugar levels persist for long, the blood vessels can become leaky. Such a condition allows cholesterol to seep in. And when cholesterol builds up inside the arterial blood vessels, they thicken from inside, reducing and eventually blocking the blood flow, leading to atherosclerosis.

Thanks to sustained campaigning over the years, most people now know that diabetes is also bad for the heart.

However, what many people do not know is that an inadvertent fallout of certain treatment methods can be detrimental to the heart’s functioning. A case in point is insulin therapy. One of the last resorts in diabetes management, the hormone insulin is administered either through a subcutaneous injection or by using a self-controlling pump attached to the body.

But this externally supplied insulin, for reasons not yet known, causes some cells in the blood vessels to grow more than they should, leading to a narrowing of their passageway to the heart.

A consequence of this, as some studies have shown, is that diabetics on insulin who have undergone bypass surgery are likely to have their newly grafted veins blocked earlier than non-diabetic heart patients.

But now a team of vascular biologists at the University of Leeds in the UK has found that a small protein, which was long thought to have been a useless by-product of natural insulin production in the pancreas, can ameliorate this undesirable side effect of insulin treatment.

Led by Karen Porter of the Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health and Therapeutics (Light), the researchers found that C-peptide, a natural by-product of insulin production, has a role to play in nature’s scheme of things and hence is not as “useless” as it is made out to be.

When C-peptide was given along with insulin, as happens in normal people who are not diabetic, the excessive growth and movement of cells was completely stopped, they report in the latest issue of the journal Diabetologia. “We found that administering insulin with C-peptide — which is released naturally in partnership with insulin in healthy people — appears to protect blood vessels from this damage,” says Porter.

Though insulin has been in use as medication since the 1930s, research till very recently failed to ascribe any role to C-peptide, insulin’s natural “partner”.

As a result, it was never incorporated in externally supplied insulin. In the 1970s though, some scientists briefly wondered if diabetics might be suffering from a lack of C-peptide. Subsequent studies, however, didn’t help much as they failed to ascertain any beneficial effect.

For instance, a study in 1993 by Julio Santiago of the Washington University who injected diabetic patients with low levels of the protein — just enough to match normal levels — saw no effect.

“Patients with diabetes are known to have higher cardiovascular risk and some will require coronary artery bypass grafting, using a vein from the leg. Patients donated these veins, left over after their operations, for research and we found that insulin on its own caused the cells lining these veins to go into an overdrive, with increased growth and movement that we know contribute to blockages. We were really surprised as to how powerful C-peptide was — it completely took away this insulin effect,” explains Porter.

“The study shows us a new path, wherein thickening of arteries — which is sometimes induced by insulin itself — could be decreased by giving C-peptide. This has huge relevance for the treatment of heart disease in patients with diabetes,” says Anoop Misra, head of internal medicine at New Delhi’s Fortis Hospital.

However, Nihal Thomas, an endocrinologist at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, says the idea that an additional peptide may augment the action of insulin is not entirely new. Previous studies with peptides such as IGF1 (insulin-like growth factor-1) and GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide- type 1) have shown similar benefits.

Moreover, the mechanism works at a cellular level in laboratory studies. “It needs to be established over a period of time through extensive human clinical trials to assess its clinical viability,” he adds.

But if the trials were to become successful in the next few years, a large number of diabetics all over the world will benefit from it.

It will be especially welcome in India, which is home to more than 40 million Type 2 diabetic patients.

This more common form of diabetes, associated with obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, results in the pancreas overworking and eventually failing. These patients will require insulin therapy over time. For instance, some 5 per cent of Indian diabetics are on insulin. Those suffering from Type 1 diabetes need insulin therapy at a much earlier stage.

“The number of people affected by diabetes each year indicates the problem is here to stay. Patients can generally learn to manage and live with their diabetes but heart disease is a complication that kills,” says Porter.

As has been shown by the Light researchers, a combination of insulin and C-peptide may provide a more effective treatment than insulin alone in controlling some of the cardiovascular complications associated with diabetes.

The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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‘Spoonful of Sugar’ Makes The Worms’ Lifespan Go Down

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If worms are any indication, all the sugar in your diet could spell much more than obesity and type 2 diabetes. Researchers reporting in the November issue of Cell Metabolism say it might also be taking years off your life.
By adding just a small amount of glucose to C. elegans’ usual fare of straight bacteria, they found the worms lose about 20 percent of their usual lifespan. They trace the effect to insulin signals, which can block other life-extending molecular players.

Although the findings are in worms, Cynthia Kenyon of the University of California, San Francisco says there are known to be many similarities between worms and people in the insulin signaling pathways department.

As an aside, Kenyon says she read up on low-carb diets and changed her eating habits immediately — cutting out essentially all starches and desserts — after making the initial discovery in worms. The discovery was made several years ago, but had not been reported in a peer-reviewed journal until now.

You may click to see :Avoiding Sweets May Spell A Longer Life, Study In Worms Suggests

ScienceDaily November 5, 2009

Cell Metabolism November 2009;10(5):379-91

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Health Problems & Solutions

Not All Surgery

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Shock was writ all over her face and her husband’s. “How can I have diabetes,” asked the young woman. “When I saw the result of the blood sugar test, I thought it was a mistake. No one in my family has diabetes!” Well, that may be true, but it is also a fact that 2 per cent of the Indian population has diabetes and 15 per cent of pregnant women have abnormal blood glucose values.

Despite the epidemic of diabetes in our young urban adults, statistics about the exact prevalence of the disease in pregnancy are difficult to obtain. Many pregnant women are not tested. In centres offering antenatal care, the presence or absence of “sugar” in the urine — an unreliable test at best — is used to diagnose diabetes.

Blood should be tested as part of routine antenatal care. A fasting glucose level of more than 126mg/dL or 7mmols/L in pregnancy is considered abnormal. A blood sample can also be drawn one hour after ingesting 50g of glucose. A normal value is less than 140mg/dL or 7.8mmols/L. If it is higher, it needs to be followed by a three-hour OGTT (oral glucose tolerance test) with a 100g glucose load. A positive diagnosis is made if the fasting value is 105mg/dl, the one-hour value 190 mg/dL, the two-hour value 165mg/dL and the three-hour value 145 mg/dL or more.

Some of the women with these values are diabetics who are asymptomatic and unaware of their condition. Others have relative insulin insufficiency, or MODY (maturity onset diabetes of the young), and are already on oral diabetic medications. Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome may be on the oral diabetic drug metformin. They may become overtly diabetic during pregnancy.

Others with abnormal blood sugar levels have gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), a peculiar type of glucose intolerance which first appears during pregnancy in an otherwise normal woman. It can occur at any time during the pregnancy, though it is more likely to occur after 24 weeks. The exact reason for gestational diabetes is not known.

Women at risk are those who:-

* Have a family history of diabetes,

* Have a BMI (body mass index — that is, weight in kilogram divided by height in metre squared) of more than 30,

* Are older than 25,

* Have previously had large babies (more than 4kg) or still births.

The glucose in the mother’s blood crosses over via the placenta to the baby. The excess sugar supplied makes the baby grow rapidly. The baby’s pancreas starts to work overtime to lower the sugar to normal by secreting insulin. The excess calories are stored as fat. This gives rise to a large baby (macrosomia) weighing more than 4kg. This in itself increases mortality by 50 per cent. The size may cause the baby to get stuck in the birth canal. Forceful extraction can result in fractures of the collarbone or paralysis of the nerves to the arm. After birth, the baby’s pancreas continues to produce high levels of insulin as it is acclimatised to do so. This may cause the blood sugar levels in the baby to drop precipitously. The baby may then have seizures. In addition, it may develop other problems such as low blood levels of calcium and magnesium. Many babies also die (that is, are still born) while others (up to 50 per cent) may have breathing difficulties.

About 33 per cent may have polycythemia (excess blood) and 16 per cent develop jaundice at birth or soon after.

Mothers with GDM are also prone to develop other complications during the pregnancy such as hypertension. Almost 60 per cent of these women develop GDM in subsequent pregnancies, particularly if there has been maternal weight gain between the two pregnancies. Around 35 per cent will go on to develop diabetes in the next 15 years. The blood sugar in mothers with GDM should be well controlled to prevent complications in her as well as the baby. Diet regulation is needed to keep the sugars under control. Since not all women with GDM are obese, the diet has to be adjusted in accordance with the mother’s BMI. The diet should consist of 40 per cent carbohydrate, 20 per cent protein and 40 per cent fat.

Pregnant women do not really “have to eat for two”. The calorie requirements are

*35kcal/kg/ 24hour for a woman of normal weight (BMI 25).

* 24kcal/kg/ 24hour for overweight women (BMI 25-30).

* 12 to 15 kcal/kg/24hour for morbidly obese women (BMI 30-40).

* 40kcal/kg/24hour for underweight women (BMI less than 25).

A combination of diet control and aerobic exercise such as brisk walking for 45 minutes every day usually keeps the blood sugars normal. If the sugars remain high, insulin therapy may have to be started. Many of the oral diabetic medications cross the placenta and cause hypoglycaemia in the baby. Some of them are, however, used under supervision.

Unlike other forms of diabetes, which are permanent, GDM disappears after delivery. It, however, acts as a warning. Exercise for 45 minutes or more a day, reduce your weight and maintain your BMI at 23. That way, diabetes may not plague you in your later years.

Source: The Telkegraph (Kolkata, India)

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News on Health & Science

Diabetic? Look Into Your Mouth

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A painless route to early diabetes detection: —

Bye bye, painful finger pricks. Now a spit is more than enough to know whether you suffer from diabetes. The news is particularly sweet for the millions who are feared to be on the verge of joining the growing global epidemic called diabetes.

The alarm for the disease may now be rung really early. A saliva test, developed by a team of researchers from the Hyderabad-based Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (Nims) and their counterparts in a private US firm, may help to spot the metabolic changes associated with diabetes much before the clinical symptoms set in. An early diagnosis can help patients keep the blood sugar levels in check, thus avoiding diabetes-linked complications that afflict many organs including the kidney and eyes.

The study, which appeared online recently in the Journal of Proteome Research, reports that even in a country like the US (boasting of an efficient healthcare system) nearly seven per cent of the newly diagnosed type-2 diabetes patients had actually been diabetic for approximately 4-7 years before the diagnosis. “The ability to ascertain those individuals at risk for the development for clinically apparent diabetes is critical to effectively focus potentially limited clinical resources,” the researchers say in the paper.

The scientists have found that out of a total of 487 proteins in human saliva, in diabetics 65 are more than twice as high as compared to normal people. More significantly, such raised protein levels are found in those who are years away from being full-fledged diabetics. The scientists claim that the level of these biomarkers — which are associated with metabolism and immune response — are noticeably high even in those suffering from impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose, which manifest much before clinical symptoms of diabetes set in.

“Our primary objective is to find an alternative to the conventional blood sugar test for diagnosis and monitoring, the latter being important to adjust drug doses,” says Paturi V. Rao, a researcher at Nims and first author of the study. “It is possible to replace blood glucose tests with urine and saliva tests,” says Rao whose team reported a similar work with urine proteins last year.

According to Dr Anoop Misra, head of internal medicine at the Fortis Group of Hospitals, New Delhi, the work is exciting as it opens a new avenue of research into early diagnosis of diabetes (which currently afflicts more than 30 million Indians). The more worrying concern for medical experts is that the number is still climbing and the curve is nowhere near taking a downward plunge.

Misra, however, doesn’t expect it to come to the realm of practical application too soon. “Blood test remains the gold standard for diabetes diagnosis. I don’t think anything can replace it soon,” he says.

If the saliva test can pick up early signals of diabetes, as the scientists claim, it can prove to be a boon — families, in which members are diabetic, can ascertain whether the disease has been handed down to the offspring. For instance, a 13-year-old in a diabetic family can be checked to see whether he or she will become diabetic, say, 10 years later, Misra hopes.

Rao, who collaborates with the Oregon-based US firm DiabetOmics in this new research, says the team has found enough urine and saliva markers in diabetes. “Our urine test device should be ready by this year end and the saliva device next year,” Rao told KnowHow from Berlin.

An additional advantage of having such a non-invasive diagnosis, according to the authors, is that it can make more diabetics comply with regular monitoring. “Compliance with glucose monitoring is poor because of the pain and inconvenience of the conventional blood collection using lancets,” the researchers say.

The saliva test is the latest among several non-invasive diagnostic methods being attempted by medical scientists. Nearly two years ago, GlucoLight, a Pennsylvania-based company, announced the availability of a painless way of measuring blood sugar levels using light beams. The technique is said to be particularly useful for those who need to check sugar levels several times a day for taking insulin jabs.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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