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... [continues]
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(1999, 10). Treating Diabetes with Transplanted Cells. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Treating-Diabetestransplanted-Cells-2299.html
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