Treaing Diabetes Essay Research Paper Treating Diabetes

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Treaing Diabetes Essay, Research Paper Treating Diabetes with Transplanted Cells Seventy-five years ago the type of diabetes that affected children and young adults was lethal. In the 1990+s investigators found that a hormone, that was produced in Islets of Langerhans, was not being produced in diabetes patients. This hormone, called insulin, enables other cells to take up sugar glucose from the blood for energy. Diabetes patients who were not making insulin had glucose from food accumulating in the blood while other tissues were starving. Their are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes has ceased completely from making insulin and the people who had this kind usually died. Type 2 diabetes still makes a little insulin so suffers of this type usually lived. In the 1920+s

prospects for people who suffered from type 1 diabetes increased when it was learned that insulin extracted from animals and placed in humans could prevent death. Unfortunately, this is not a cure. Patients can get potentially fatal diabetes-related disorders. These include blindness and, or kidney failure. Atherososclerosis, numbness and pain in extremities caused by narrowed vessicles, may also be a problem. These effects are caused because insulin injections can+t perfectly mimic naturally made insulin. That+s why a therapy that maintains glucose values within normal from the begging is needed. An ideal treatment would be the implantation of islets. This, in theory, would only have to be done once and would insure proper insulin production. Successful grafts would also prevent

diabete-related ills. At Paul E. Lacy+s lab, experiments have been done for twenty- five years on such a process. At first they were just trying to understand the mechanics of hormone secretion. To start this they needed a way to separate islet clusters from the pancreas. These constitute only 2% of the entire pancreas, though, and are scattered throughout it. In 1967 they found a solution and took the islets from rats. These islets were transplanted in inbred rats to see if it would control insulin production in diabetes patients. It was a success and kept blood sugar levels normal. It even fixed early complications in the eyes and the kidneys. The next step was to test the process on humans. Unfortunately, the process that was used to separate rat islets from the pancreas did

not work on humans. They had to find a new way to solve the problem. The problem took a few years to solve but in the mid 1980+s they finally found a semi-automatic method to do it. This method managed to isolate 400,000 islets from the pancreas. It would take just the amount they estimated to maintain the blood sugar level. In 1986 the first experiment started. A lot of immune-suppresent drugs are needed so the foreign tissue would not be rejected. These drugs are risky, though, so the experiment was performed on patients who have had kidney transplants and are already on these drugs. They decided that the best place to place the islets was into the portal vein leading to the pancreas. This would give the islets nourishment from the beginning and would be less risky than placing

them directly into the pancreas. The results were encouraging. Subjects were given 400,000 islets and the grafts worked. But it was not enough to stop insulin injection. Later when the islets were increased to 800,000, the insulin injections were able to be stopped, at least for a time. They also learned that the islets could be frozen and stored. Since 1990 about 145 patients have had the process done. Most were unable to control the blood sugar level. Strain on the islets may have been a problem and in some cases enough probably weren+t used. Doctors are proposing to give these transplants with graphs even though the results weren+t perfect. The process is less costly and easier than complete pancreas transplantation. Many concepts have been considered though to solve the last