By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: People suffering from insulin-dependent diabetes
need not take their daily shots if the doctors at the city-based Asian
Institute of Gastroenterology (AIG) have they way.
The AIG team has developed an insulin bag that needs to be kept under
the skin. The bag made of a special material called theracyte will
supply the insulin dose required to the patient for about three to
five years. Once the supply is exhausted, the bag can be filled again
through an injection containing the insulin-producing beta cells
obtained from the islets of pancreas.
Dr D Nageshwar Reddy, chief of gastroenterology and therapeutic
endoscopy at the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, told this
correspondent that the islet cell culture developed by his team has
been successful in the monkey models and it is now ready for use in
human beings. “We have received all necessary clearances for use in
diabetic patients. We will start it next month,” he said.
The beta cells of islets in pancreas secrete insulin. Non-production
of insulin or production of ineffective insulin leads to diabetes
classified as type 1 and type 2. A relatively new type of diabetes
called type 3 has been identified now. While type 1 and type 2 causes
fluctuation in blood glucose levels, type 3 does not influence it.
However, type 3 affects the brain sugar as scientists recently
discovered that brain too produces insulin. The AIG therapy works for
type 1 and type 3 diabetes.
Dr Nageshwar Reddy said direct transplant of islets cells into the
body had been failure as the body immune system would reject them.
Putting the cultured islets cells (from the patient or cadaver) in a
bag and keeping it under the skin solves this problem. There is no
rejection by the body. The islets cells are not destroyed. The bag is
just one inch in height and two inches in breadth.
Daily intake of insulin injections is not only painful but also leads
to production of antibodies and other health complications.
“We have achieved significant progress in isolating, culturing and
transplanting pancreatic islets (in simian models), with a long term
interest in establishing islet transplantation center in India,” he
The findings of the research were presented at the first Indo US
two-day bilateral workshop of Pancreatic Islet Transplantation
held in Hyderabad on September 14.
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