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Potential Cure for Diabetes Reported in China: Patient Becomes Insulin-Independent After Cell Therapy

Beijing: In a groundbreaking development for diabetes treatment, researchers in China have successfully used cell therapy to potentially cure a 59-year-old man with type 2 diabetes, marking a significant milestone in the fight against the disease. Published in the journal Cell Discovery, the study highlights the innovative approach and its remarkable outcomes.

The patient, who had been managing diabetes for 25 years with daily insulin injections, underwent a cell transplant procedure in July 2021. This novel treatment involved the creation of lab-grown replicas of insulin-producing islet cells from the pancreas, which were then transplanted into his body.

According to the South China Morning Post, the results were promising. Within eleven weeks, the patient no longer needed external insulin injections. Over the next year, he gradually ceased using oral medication for blood sugar control. Follow-up examinations confirmed that the patient’s pancreatic islet cells had regained function, enabling him to remain medication-free for over 33 months.

“This is a significant breakthrough in cell therapy for diabetes,” commented Professor Timothy Kieffer from the University of British Columbia, describing the case as “an important advance in the field.” However, he noted that further large-scale trials are necessary to establish the safety and efficacy of this treatment approach before it can be widely adopted.

Global Impact of Diabetes

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) reports a concerning global trend: by 2021, approximately 537 million adults aged 20-79 had diabetes. This number is expected to surge to 643 million by 2030 and 783 million by 2045. This alarming projection means that by 2045, 1 in 8 adults globally will have diabetes, reflecting a 46% increase.

Notably, the burden of diabetes disproportionately affects low- and middle-income countries, with 3 out of 4 adults with the condition residing in these regions. This underscores the urgent need for effective prevention and management strategies, particularly in developing nations.

This promising cell therapy development offers new hope for millions of people with diabetes worldwide. While more research is needed, the success of this trial could pave the way for a future where diabetes can be effectively treated or even cured.

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