Type 2 diabetes, which usually arises in adulthood and often stems from poor diet, lack of exercise and obesity – accounts for more than 90 percent of diabetes cases. Earlier it had been revealed by UBC, that stem cells could reverse Type 1 diabetes in mice. Now, the research conducted by scientists at University of British Columbia and BetaLogics, part of Janssen Research and Development, LLC, has found how Type 2 diabetes could be effectively cured with a combination of specially-cultured stem cells and conventional diabetes drugs.
In order to manage blood glucose levels, patients with type 2 diabetes are often treated with oral medication – such as metformin – insulin injections, or a combination of both. Kieffer and colleagues note, however, that such treatments can cause gastrointestinal problems, weight gain and low blood glucose levels, and some patients may not even respond to them.
Timothy Kieffer, a professor in the department of cellular and physiological sciences at the University of British Columbia, and scientists from BetaLogics simulated Type 2 diabetes in mice by putting them on a high-fat, high-calorie diet for several weeks. Mice that received a combination of the cells with one of three diabetes drugs became as “glucose tolerant” as the healthy mice, meaning they were able to keep their blood sugar in check, even after ingesting a sugary meal.
Another unexpected result of the experiment was that the mice had turned to a normal weight, same as was of a healthy control group that had been kept on a low-fat diet.