Deep-sea diving tank combined with injections of a patient's own stem cells to …

By
Roger Dobson

22:48 EST, 11 March 2013


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23:38 EST, 11 March 2013

Sitting in a diving chamber may be a new treatment for type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the condition.

Scientists are combining the treatment with injections of a patient’s own stem cells in a bid to kick-start insulin production.

They believe the high levels of oxygen in the chamber boosts the activity of the stem cells, helping them to repair the cells in the body that produce insulin.

There are around 2.9 million Britons with diabetes, with most of them suffering from type 2

There are around 2.9 million Britons with diabetes, with most of them suffering from type 2

In a new trial, patients with type 2 diabetes reduced their need for insulin and metformin (a common diabetes drug) with some no longer needing the insulin at all.

So-called hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves a patient sitting in a pressurised chamber.

The high-pressure atmosphere means they breathe in three times as much oxygen as they would normally.

The treatment is normally used for helping divers who have surfaced too quickly and have the ‘bends’ (where bubbles of nitrogen form in the blood).

It’s also used for carbon monoxide poisoning and to speed up wound healing such as leg ulcers.

Studies suggest high levels of oxygen boosts activity of stem cells  — the so-called blank slate cells that can turn into any cell of the body — helping them to replace and heal ailing cells.

A study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine showed that a course of hyperbaric oxygen treatment triggers an eight-fold increase in the number of circulating stem cells, possibly by boosting the activity of enzymes involved in the release and activity of stem cells.

The new treatment involves scientists extracting a patient’s stem cells, multiplying them in the lab and then injecting them back into the pancreas (this organ produces the hormone insulin, which mops up blood sugar).

Combining this treatment with the oxygen chamber increases the activity of the stem cells, boosting their healing powers.

In some cases, it is possible to control symptoms through lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet

In some cases, it is possible to control symptoms through lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet

Patients receive injections of their own stem cells into the pancreas before and after entering the diving chamber.

There are around 2.9 million Britons with diabetes, with most of them suffering from type 2, where not enough insulin is produced to maintain a normal blood sugar level, or the cells of the body become resistant to its effect.

Diabetes cannot be cured, but there are treatments that aim to keep blood glucose levels as normal as possible to control symptoms and lower the risk of complications.

In some cases, it is possible to control symptoms through lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet.

But drugs such as metformin (which reduces glucose production by the liver) or injected therapies such as insulin may become necessary.

The new treatment, which is being investigated at a number of centres across the world, involves extracting stem cells from the patient’s bone marrow under local anaesthetic and injecting them into the pancreas.

In a trial at Miami University, 25 patients had five hour-long sessions of hyperbaric oxygen treatment before and after the injections, over the course of a week.

All the patients were taking either metformin or insulin, or both.

Four patients were able to stop using their insulin after the combined treatment.

Fifteen of the patients could gradually reduce their insulin over the following year, while ten stopped or reduced their metformin dose, it was reported in the journal Cell Transplantation.

Commenting on the study, Dr Matthew Hobbs, Diabetes UK Head of Research, said: ‘Although any stem cell therapies for type 1 and type 2 diabetes are many years away from widespread clinical use, researchers agree that stem cells hold great potential to treat and perhaps even cure a range of different health conditions.

‘Stem cell research is an exciting area of science that, in the long term, could help us bring about a future without diabetes.’

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Meanwhile, children and teenagers with recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes are being given daily vitamin D pills in a new clinical trial.

There is evidence vitamin D may help treat autoimmmune conditions by dampening inflammation.

In most cases of newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes, patients go through a period of partial remission. The new study, at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, prescribes vitamin D supplements during this time.

 

The comments below have not been moderated.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition of insulin RESISTANCE, not failure to produce, and is totally curable, in very little time, by getting to the root cause of the condition – overconsumption of CARBOHYDRATES, soya and vegetable oils. Those making a lot of money out of ‘treating’ the condition with drugs and would prefer you to be chronically ill of course, because there is no profit in health. Might be useful for type 1, but not for type 2 (or type 3 aka Alzheimers)
– Libertarian , York, United Kingdom

WRONG, that is only one type of type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is only one type, you can also have genetic predisposition and have a pancrease that doesn’t function effectively, and you can even have one type where your body attacks the insulin and cells that produce the insulin. You did hit on an important thing though, lately medicine has not cured anything because there is more money treating diseases…greed hurting mankind again.

Hojo
,

Virginia Beach, United States,
12/3/2013 13:02

IF you mean TYPE 2 diabetes then please say so in the HEADLINE and not just in the article. Diabetes has two types and I think that most of the media who should know better, who insist on classing both types as the same, are doing so in order to make the headlines more noteworthy. The headline is so misleading as it doesn’t relate to diabetes but to type 2 diabetes. Why not put that?
Heather Shorrock

Heather Shorrock
,

Kirkham, United Kingdom,
12/3/2013 12:03

WHY don’t you mention type 2 in the headline instead of in the subtext? When people glance at headlines it is usually something similar to this one. DIABETES has two types. Both are very different. It should be mentioned in the headline and not halfway through the article. I am sure that it is done on purpose – why else would newspapers and the rest of the media insist on doing it whenever there is an article regarding type 2 diabetes? PLEASE state type 2 if that is what the article is about, in the HEADLINE
Heather Shorrock

Heather Shorrock
,

Kirkham, United Kingdom,
12/3/2013 11:58

I have HBOT for MS. I haven’t had a relapse in the 8 years I’ve been having it.

Teresa
,

BRIDGEND,
12/3/2013 09:34

Losing weight doesn’t always help. With some forms of diabetes some parts of your pancreas are dead. Losing weight does not reanimated necrotic tissue. I am thin and in shape and still have diabetes, I believe it was caused by aspartame in diet sodas.

Hojo
,

Virginia Beach, United States,
12/3/2013 09:24

Type 2 diabetes is a condition of insulin RESISTANCE, not failure to produce, and is totally curable, in very little time, by getting to the root cause of the condition – overconsumption of CARBOHYDRATES, soya and vegetable oils. Those making a lot of money out of ‘treating’ the condition with drugs and would prefer you to be chronically ill of course, because there is no profit in health. Might be useful for type 1, but not for type 2 (or type 3 aka Alzheimers)

Libertarian
,

York, United Kingdom,
12/3/2013 09:22

I have just completed sessions in a hyperbaric chamber for sudden hearing loss probably caused by a virus. This treatment was combined with a short course of cortisone injections. I cannot believe that my hearing slowly but surely returned. I was very doubtful that the hyperbaric treatment would work but it has. So I sincerely hope that Diabetes sufferers will also experience positive results.

JVMila
,

London, United Kingdom,
12/3/2013 07:11

the best cure to treat diabetes type 2 is losing weight! much cheaper on the healthcare pocket too…

sunshine
,

Amsterdam,
12/3/2013 06:29

Twelve years ago, Professor Irving Weissman discovered a treatment that could have saved the lives of thousands of women with advanced breast cancer. Pharmaceutical companies weren¿t interested in developing the therapy at the time.
Though interest in his methods are finally being ignited, Weissman regrets the wasted time. In a set of lectures, Weissman repeatedly expressed frustration that while many of his discoveries in the field of stem cell research seemed to hold remarkable potential for life-saving treatments, commercial or regulatory hurdles have prevented his scientific findings from benefiting patients.
One example is Weissman¿s research on type I diabetes, in which he demonstrated the ability to fully cure type I diabetes in mice using stem cells. But even though his experiments avoided political controversy by using adult stem cells, which do not come from embryos, Weissman ran into a road block when pharmaceutical companies refused to sponsor clinical trials.

jondoeuk
,

cardiff, United Kingdom,
12/3/2013 05:51

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