Cells From Your Teeth Can Cure Diabetes - The New Indian Express

Cells From Your Teeth Can Cure Diabetes

Published: 18th February 2014 09:28 AM

Last Updated: 18th February 2014 02:45 PM

India accounts for the largest number of people suffering from diabetes in the world, about 50.8 million, followed by China (43.2 million) and the United States (26.8 million), according to  new figures released by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). India continues to be the ‘diabetes capital’ of the world, and by 2030, nearly nine per cent of the country’s population is likely to be affected from the disease, warns the fourth edition of the World Diabetes Atlas, launched by the IDF at the 20th World Diabetes Congress in Montreal, Canada.

For years, researchers have painstakingly dissected this complicated disease caused by the destruction of insulin producing islet cells of the pancreas. Despite progress in understanding the underlying diseases mechanisms for diabetes, there is still a paucity of effective therapies.

Diabetes is actually a group of diseases characterised by abnormally high levels of the sugar glucose in the bloodstream. This excess glucose is responsible for most of the complications of diabetes, which includes blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, neuropathy, and amputations.

While there have been many advancements in science, researchers and doctors are experimenting on curing diabetes through the patient’s own stem cells, something they believe will be a better and healthier method, beasides exercising and good lifestyles of course.

What are stem cells

Stem cells are the ‘building blocks’ of life. They have the remarkable potential to regenerate into different cell types in the body throughout an adult’s lifetime. Additionally, in many tissues they serve as an internal repair system, dividing limitlessly to replenish other cells over a lifetime. Stem cells can  regenerate any tissue in the human body. This feature makes them particularly critical in the regeneration and repair of diseased and damaged tissues and organs. Stem cells can easily be isolated from the adult from bone marrow, adipose tissue and peripheral blood. Another good way to collect adult stem cells is through teeth.

Bite this

Dental Stem Cells involves collection of stem cells from the dental pulp, which is the soft living tissue inside a tooth. These stem cells are found in both, baby teeth (milk teeth of children in the age group of 5 -12 years) and permanent teeth of young adults ideally below 30 years of age. The cells can also be found in premolars of teenagers wearing braces. Dental pulp stem cells are plentiful and easy to collect. Unlike other modes of getting stem cells, dental stem cells are easy to collect as children lose their milk teeth as a part of growing up.  This is a painless process and takes less than 10 minutes to complete the tooth collection.

Adults can also benefit if they are getting their premolar or wisdom tooth removed. They can use the same for banking their stem cells if the tooth is healthy. Stemade Biotech has tied up with numerous clinics in India to facilitate the preservation of stem cells.

Expert speak

Talking about research being done, Dr PV Mahajan, a general surgeon and stem cells researcher says, “The biological task of stem cells is to repair and regenerate damaged cells. At StemRx, this function is exploited by administering these cells systematically and in high concentrations directly into the damaged tissue, where they advance its self-healing.” Stem cells release a number of cytokines that activate the residential stem cells and bring about neo and angiogenesis. The immunomodulatory effect of the administered stem cells stops the destruction of beta cells and further the stem cells differentiate into beta cells restoring the lost functions of the pancreas, he further explains. “Stem cells also bring about decreased peripheral resistance to insulin. Most scientists agree that stem cell research has great life-saving potential and will revolutionise the study and treatment of diabetics.”

So the next time you lose a tooth or can bank your stem cells, you may want to seriously consider the option.

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