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Diabetes Research Institute Investigates

Diabetes Research Institute make a giant step toward a biological diabetes cure by producing the DRI BioHub, a “mini-organ” that has actual insulin-producing cells that trigger the body to produce insulin. Find out about type I diabetes and this innovative technology.

Typically, type I diabetics use insulin because they have an absolute lack of this hormone, which is produced only by the pancreatic islet cells. These people are the focus of current researchers, who especially are interested in creating beta, or islet cells. The scientists hope that transplanted islet cells will allow the type I diabetic to produce insulin again.

The DRI BioHub Innovative Mini-Organ

The Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) released news of the innovative BioHub Mini-Organ in early March of this year (2013). The DRI BioHub is a bioengineered organ that contains insulin-producing cells, which react to blood glucose, and secrete the needed amount of insulin to keep the body in homeostasis. With transplantation of donor islet cells, patients with Type I diabetes must remain on anti-rejection drugs for life.

The DRI BioHub mimics the natural environment of the pancreatic islet cells, and scientists are currently researching the most suitable platform for this mini-organ, experimenting with small quarter size implantable sponges. They also actively investigate utilization of the patient's own venous system to create a sac for the mini-organ. This remarkable advance could potentially move diabetes research a quantum leap further towards its eventual goal of producing insulin within the body in immediate response to blood glucose levels (Diabetes Research Institute, 2013).

In previous clinical trials, researchers showed that long-standing diabetics could achieve insulin independence following infusions of islet cells from a donor organ. Islet transplantation is reserved for people with severe diabetes, and challenges face the scientists who are trying to implement this strategy. Hurdles they must jump include the need for anti-rejection drugs the recipients must take for life, the identification of a perfect site in the body for the transplanted cells, and the demand for a plentiful supply of the insulin-secreting cells necessary for transplant (Diabetes Research Institute, 2013).

Type I Diabetes Vs. Type II Diabetes

There are two different categories of diabetes, known as type I, "insulin-dependent," and type II, "non-insulin dependent." Type I is also known as "juvenile diabetes," and type II is known as "adult-onset" However, these latter terminologies are misleading, as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus may occur long after one becomes an adult. The primary distinction between the two types of diabetes lies in the pancreas. The beta cells in the pancreas produce insulin, which is necessary for uptake of glucose into the body's cells. Glucose is critical to our body, as our cells utilize glucose to maintain cellular metabolism (Mayo Clinic, 2013).

Type I diabetics are unable to produce any insulin. This is, of course, why they are known as "insulin-dependent." It is not well understood why the islet cells in the pancreas stop producing insulin, but it is thought to possibly be part of an autoimmune process, where the body attacks its own cells. People without circulating insulin have no way to utilize the glucose the body needs to function. The glucose circulates at high levels in their bloodstream, because the cells have no insulin with which to take up the glucose.  Even when type I diabetics improve their diet, with little or no intake of sugar, their livers produce glucose, or sugar, through a process known as "gluconeogenesis" Through this process, the body uses other fuels to create glucose (Mayo Clinic, 2013).

In type II diabetes, which often has a strong hereditary component, the body's insulin receptors become "burnt-out," and the cells are unable to efficiently utilize glucose. Again, the glucose that is not utilized by the cells remains in the bloodstream, and this is responsible for many of the signs and symptoms of diabetes. Briefly, though, type II diabetes is considered a "lifestyle" disease, as many people with type II diabetes have had a high sugar intake throughout their lives, and as adults, their insulin receptors don't work as well. (Mayo Clinic, 2013)

People with type II diabetes have many options for medication, and, indeed, some type II diabetics use insulin. Some of the other medications used in the treatment of type II diabetes act by increasing cellular uptake of glucose, or by inhibiting the production of glucose by the liver. For both types of diabetes, clinical studies suggest that a raw diet may help. In addition to going on a raw diet, you can use raw milk, almond milk, or oat milk in place of regular milk (Jun et al., 2013).

Quick Facts about Herbal and Alternative Remedies

• Diabetics need less insulin when they are taking fig leaf extract each day.

• Holistic practitioners also give black seed (also known as Nigella Sativa) as oil or a tea to help lessen the severity of diabetes.

• Fenugreek, which may cause significant side effects, is another alternative treatment for diabetes.

• In a 2003 clinical study, investigators found that cinnamon decreases blood glucose.

• Grape seed extract helps protect liver cells and treats free radicals produced when you are hyperglycemic.

• Many believe olive oil reduces cholesterol levels helps in weight management, which is in turn associated with type II diabetes.

• Bitter melon lowers blood and urine glucose, and taking 100-600 mg of vitamin C daily can help normalize blood sugar.

• Researchers recently found that ginseng has a slight effect on glucose levels.

(Choi, 2013; Jun et al., 2013; Natural News, 2009)

Summary

You now know that scientists are one step closer to a cure for diabetes, with the revolutionary DRI BioHub “mini-organ”. Type I and type II diabetes both are scourges on human life, costing millions in treatment and leading to psychosocial and emotional suffering. They are similar diseases, but they are also different. There are many herbal remedies available to use in adjunct with your current diabetic regimen. As always, before taking any alternative therapies, check first with your doctor and get his or her approval.

References


Choi J, Kim TH, Choi TY, Lee MS. Ginseng for health care: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials in korean literature.PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e59978. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059978. Epub 2013 Apr 1

Diabetes Research Institute, 2013. Derived from http://www.diabetesresearch.org/DRI-tests-BioHub-Mini-Organ-to-restore-insulin-function-in-type-1-diabetes.

Jun EH, Choi BY, Lee DC, Lee JW, Lee JY. Cardiopulmonary fitness is independently associated with insulin resistance in non-diabetes mellitus patients of a university hospital in Korea.Korean J Fam Med. 2013 Mar;34(2):139-44. doi: 10.4082/kjfm.2013.34.2.139. Epub 2013 Mar 20.

Mayo Clinic, 2013. Derived from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/type-2-diabetes/DS00585.

Natural News, 2009. Derived from http://www.naturalnews.com/027252_diabetes_oil_remedies.html.

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