Gene Therapy: Can It Cure Diabetes?
The principles of gene therapy for diabetes type 1 emphasise mostly on the production of replaceable sources of insulin producing tissue, this is useful to destroyed or failing beta-cells. Preventing Type 1 diabetes mellitus and the introduction of specific immune tolerance vaccination with DNA fragments is a promising line of research. It also is a viable option for treating diabetic vascular complication, neuropathy and other complications of insulin resistance.
A study done by UW School of Medicine and Public Health showed that injecting a small sequence of DNA into the veins of diabetic rats created insulin-producing cells. These injected cells helped to stabilize blood sugar levels and regulate glucose metabolism. The study authors were surprised that even a single injection could give precise glycaemic control for almost 6 weeks. This is the 1st known study to validate that DNA-based insulin gene therapy has the possibility to treat type 1 diabetes.
Hans Sollinger, a member of the research team said, "After receiving the therapy, the diabetic rats had insulin and glucose levels that resembled exactly what you would find in healthy animals."
In other research, CRISPR (clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeat), the gene-editing technology was used to treat mice with diabetes. The CRISPR type 1 diabetes trail targeted genes that boost the growth of insulin-producing cells. The mice were found to have lower blood glucose levels after treatment. This study was done by the scientists at Salk Institute & attempted to work around the concerns of gene cutting, which is still controversial.