Animal research and diabetes

October 9, 2019 0 By Jose Scott

To start with I just had a general kind of cold feeling very weak and very tired and eventually, I actually got rushed to hospital because I ended up in a coma. Not too distant past, if you were a child diagnosed with diabetes it was basically a death sentence. Originally they did not know that
diabetes was associated with the pancreas. They did a pancreatectomy dogs which means
taking out the pancreas and they were really suprised to find these dogs got diabetes They then managed to take the pancreases of dogs and form some very crude extract which was basically mashed up pancreas, inject into the other diabetic dogs and they realised that
this really helped in getting the blood glucose down. You always have to inject Insulin with every meal you have, so at breakfast, lunch and dinner time you have to inject insulin and then you also have to take another injection of insulin which is released slowly through out the day. If you accidentally inject a little
bit too much insulin or if you have been doing more
sports than usual your blood glucose levels can actually
dropped to dangerously low level and this can make you go into a coma. I have a twin sister and I remember her telling me recently she was really worried and used to check in the night that I had not passed out because I was hypo so I think they use to I think the biggest worry for them was that you go hypoglycemic and then you can go into hypoglycemic coma Another way forward that I’m particularly interested in is transplantation. The idea behind this is that you would take
cells that produce insulin and transplant them to the diabetes patients
so that they would not have to inject insulin. I think the biggest impact it has on your life, is that it is a constant worrying in a sense in that you have to monitor your glucose levels all the time and I think worrying about being hypoglycemic is probabaly one of the biggest problems associated with diabetes. Transplantation is
something that is very difficult to do without having a whole body.
Transplantation of the islet of langerhans which are these bundles of cells
that contain and introduce the insulin producing cells when you transplant them you need to get a new blood supply, you
need to get a new nerve supply so it’s really difficult to transplant without using an animal
unfortunately Human islet transplantation has been
done and this was a consequence of people finding
out that islet transplantation in rodents worked The trouble with human islet transplantation is it is only confined to a very small
number of patients and this is because of the risks
involved the patients need to go on immuno suppresion and for most patients it is safer just to stay on insulin. but what are research wants to do
is make it more widely available, to hide islets from the immune system so that we would not have to give the patients
immunosuppressive drugs which have a lot of bad side effects and we are doing that by encapsulating the islets so that the immune system does not recognize
them. The other aspect that I’m looking at is, I’m trying to make the islets the islet transplantation more efficient
so that we could transplant fewer islets to 1 patient because at the moment usually 2 pancreases are needed to
cure 1 patient and obviously this leads to a huge lack of donor issue. In an ideal world for anyone with diabetes I think the treatment would be to make sure that you no longer have to spend a lot of time and to think about testing
your blood glucuse concentrations I think just taking away the fact that you have to think about it a lot of time would be the best thing