Institute of Kidney Diseases Research Centre (IKDRC) claims to have successfully used stem-cells to bring down dependence of type-I diabetics on insulin.
The institute has claimed to be the first to discover insulin producing cells in abdominal fat and use it in stem-cell therapy to bring down patient’s dependence on insulin. A paper regarding the same was presented by the research team of IKDRC — led by its director Dr HL Trivedi at the 12th International Congress of Cell Transplantation Society at Milan, Italy.
Speaking about the discovery, Dr Trivedi said that the team experimented with fat from the abdomen.
“We found three genes that were identical to the genes that produce insulin in pancreas. What were the genes doing in the abdominal fat was a question. But more important was that we managed to use them in stem-cell therapy to reduce diabetics dependence on insulin,” said Dr Trivedi.
He, however, clarified that so far the use of stem-cell has only helped reduced the dependence of diabetics on insulin and not in eliminating it. “In future we may be able to achieve that too,” said Dr Trivedi.
Associate professor in regenerative medicine and stem-cell therapy Dr Umang Thakkar, who presented the paper on use of stem-cell in type-I diabetes, said 20 patients were taken for the study.
“Ten of them had stem cells from abdominal fat of a donor while the remaining used cells from their own body fat. The latter group showed better response because your body tends to accept its own cells rather than from a donor. 45% reduction in insulin dependence was registered in the group that used its own body fat while it was 35% for the other group. The mean age of the group was 20 years,” said Dr Thakkar.
He said another encouraging factor was that in the group that used stem-cells from its own body fat there were no instances of ketoacidosis — a condition common among diabetics in which there is sudden spurt in blood sugar level accompanied by breathlessness. All the patients in the study group were type-I diabetics.