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Is an improved treatment for diabetes possible in the near future?
The number of people with diabetes has increased significantly in recent decades. Diabetes causes high blood sugar levels. For this reason, diabetes is often referred to as diabetes. To enable improved treatment in the future, scientists from the United States have now developed intelligent, artificial beta cells.
The researchers at the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University developed artificial beta cells that could be used to treat diabetes. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Nature Chemical Biology".
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a so-called chronic metabolic disorder. The disease has two forms, which are particularly important and widespread. These two forms are type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. In most cases, type 1 disease begins as early as childhood. In diabetes sufferers suffer from a lack of the hormone insulin. In the course of the disease, the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas die off, causing the blood sugar level in the affected person to rise. The sufferers have to sharpen insulin to make up for the deficiency.
Artificial beta cells work reliably in mice
The experts from the USA have now succeeded in developing intelligent, artificial beta cells that could revolutionize the treatment of diabetes in the future. Such treatment would actually do without the hassle of injections or insulin pumps, the researchers explain. The function of the artificial beta cells has already been tested in experiments on mice in a laboratory. The results of the scientists show that the new approach seems to work without any problems.
What is the role of beta cells in the pancreas?
The researchers' artificial beta cells (ABCs) mimic the function of normal beta cells in the pancreas, which normally release insulin, which is then used to control blood sugar levels in healthy people. If the beta cells die or do not function properly, this leads to a disease caused by type 1 diabetes. In some cases, this also causes type 2 diabetes, say the experts.
Artificial beta cells quickly normalized the blood sugar level in mice
When the artificially produced cells were used to treat mice with diabetes in a laboratory, the blood sugar level quickly normalized. In addition, the blood sugar remained at a stable level for up to five full days after treatment with the artificial cells, explain the researchers from the United States involved in the study.
How are the artificial beta cells constructed?
The artificially produced beta cells were constructed with a simplified version of normal cell membrane with a lipid bilayer, the scientists say. The great innovation of the newly developed cells is that they contain vesicles filled with insulin, the experts explain.
More research is needed
When the glucose level rises, various chemical changes in the so-called vesicle envelope are triggered. As a result, insulin is released, the experts explain. Further research is now needed to further optimize the synthetic cells produced. In the future, the researchers could develop a special patch that can easily transport the synthetic beta cells into the body via the contact with the skin without pain. (as)