Stem cell research on treating diabetes still on: Experts


New Delhi : Stem cell therapy for treating diabetes is still not adequate enough to combat the disease and research on this is still on, experts said Friday.

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“The therapy is still in the process of research, with separate studies carried for Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3 diabetes,” Edward Horton, professor at the Harvard Medical School, said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here.

According to experts, transplantation of insulin-producing cells can offer promising therapy to treat diabetes.

Diabetes, a metabolic disorder, usually occurs when the body does not produce or properly use insulin – a hormone that is required to convert sugar and other food into energy.

“The research is not yet substantiated, as it is being tested and carried at research centres across the globe,” Horton added.

While researchers and experts are working on innovative technologies to treat the disease, experts also emphasized on preventive care and awareness-generation on diabetes.

“We also need to intensively educate our youth. ‘Be one with them’ needs to be the mantra to create awareness amongst the youth of the country,” said Anoop Misra, director and head of diabetes and metabolic diseases at the Fortis Hospital in the capital.

A recent study conducted by the National Diabetes, Obesity and Cholesterol Foundation (N-DOC) revealed that obesity has increased from 9.8 percent to 11.7 percent in children in Delhi.

“There should also be a ban on the audio-visual advertisements of fast-food products during prime time on television. We need to introduce children to lifestyle-related habits that cause diabetes,” Misra added.

According to a report by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in 2009, India accounted for 50.8 million diabetes patients -the largest of the 285 million diabetics in the world.

The obese and those with a family history of diabetes should consult a doctor by the age of 35, Misra suggested.

The symptoms include increased fatigue, frequent urination, weight fluctuation, blurry vision and poor wound healing.

Nearly nine percent of the country’s over one billion population is expected to be affected by the disease.

Echoing Misra’s views on bringing in changes in lifestyles, former Pakistan cricketer Wasim Akram said: “People working in multinational firms or anywhere should try and inculcate various forms of physical exercise in their routine.”