Diabetes Research

There probable should be a health warning on this page as very many of the research projects come to nothing or are not practical.

So much diabetic research is taking place however that there is frequent progress in some field or other.

Stem Cell Research

Stem cells are unspecialised cells that exist in the body. When they divided they can produce cells that are specialised to do certain functions, for example produce insulin.

Pancreatic stem cells, if found, could allow the pancreas to re-generate the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. Stem cells in the eye could be used in a similar fashion to actually improve vision.

Originally stem cells were only known to exist in the embryo but recent work has found them in adults in various places in the body.

As you can gather from all the articles stem cell research is progressing rapidly, its a popular story that the media are keen on.

The 8th of September 2005 Guardian article Has stem cell research been over-hyped? Gives a little needed balance. Quite timely and written before the South Korean fake research was discovered.

The International Stem Cell Forum's What are Stem Cells? page, and the site in general gives more background information.

DateSourceArticle Title
20th May 2005BBC Health Stem cells tailored to patients
September 2005The Chinese University of Hong Kong Pancreatic Stem Cells: A Glimmer of Hope for Diabetes?
5th October 2005Life Style Extra Stem cell breakthrough to treat liver damage
11th October 2005BBC News Stem cell heart cure to be tested
19th October 2005BBC News International stem cell bank open
11th September 2006jcb.org The action behind the words: embryonic stem cell research marches on.
12th November 2006BBC News Stem cell cure hope for diabetes.

Pancreas Islet Transplants

Cells are taken from the Islets of Langerhans (which produce insulin) in a donor pancreas for transplanting into the liver. The Edmonton Protocol (from Alberta, Canada) is a series of changes to the previous islet transplant procedures that have increased the transplant success rate. Latest results show an 80% success rate one year after the transplant.

    Problems and Limitations

  1. May require multiple transplants.
  2. Limited number of donors.
  3. Drugs needed for life to suppress rejection of transplanted cells.

The 26th May 2004 progress report shows a gradual improvement in blocking rejection of the transplanted cells. Some animal subjects still producing insulin 5 years after the transplant.

DateSourceArticle Title
9th March 2005BBC News Transplant cures man of diabetes.
19th April 2005BBC News Mother cures daughter of diabetes.

Inhaled Insulin

Inhaled Insulin treatments already exist but they are currently to expensive for most use in the UK

Research continues in this area to make the product more reliable and less expensive.

DateSourceArticle Title
5th Feb 2006Leeds University/BBC News Yeast 'could allow insulin spray'
25th Oct 2006BBC NEWS Diabetes innovation scoops award

Other Research

Research Type & DateSource Article Title
Oral Delivery System For Insulin - 9th Jan 2007Medical News Today Toward A New Oral Delivery System For Insulin Using Nanoshell Shields.
Wound Healing - 18th Mar 2006BBC News Hope over diabetes wound healing.
Pancreas Beta Cell - 23rd Sept 2006Stanford University/BBC News Hope for new diabetes treatment

The Children with Diabetes site also maintain a list of Research News from 2006 and 2007