On November 14, World Diabetes Day is acknowledged annually worldwide. The date of November 14 was not chosen by chance – it was on this day that Frederick Bunting, a scientist who discovered insulin, a vital hormone that lowers blood sugar, was born. World Diabetes Day is acknowledged in the world since 1991 with the support of the International Diabetes Federation.
In humans, insulin is produced by the beta cells of the Langerhans islets of pancreas. Damage to these cells decreases insulin production and develops type 1 diabetes, while type 2 diabetes develops due to impaired cellular receptors sensitivity to insulin. Both types of diabetes are manifested by high blood sugar levels – hyperglycemia, which, without proper treatment, can be life-threatening. The danger of even controlled diabetes is that many metabolic disorders and complications develop on the background of this disease, they are the cardiovascular system disorders, kidneys, organ of vision, and skin.
The purpose of World Diabetes Day is to raise public awareness on the methods of preventing this horrific disease and of taking steps to detect it early, such as screening for blood sugar. After all, if type 1 diabetes, which mainly develops in children and adolescents, is often the result of a viral infection, then the development of type 2 diabetes can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle. Methods for the prevention and even early treatment of type 2 diabetes include correction of body mass index, physical activity, reduced consumption of carbohydrates with high glycemic index (sugar and sugary drinks, white flour products, sweet fruits, etc.).
The only effective treatment for type 1 diabetes is lifelong insulin replacement therapy. However, the scientists around the world are actively working to overcome type 1 diabetes through the use of cell therapy. In particular, a clinical study conducted at the University of Florida (USA) showed that cord blood infusions reduced the need for insulin in children with type 1 diabetes. Also, in clinical trials in the early stages of type 1 diabetes, immunosuppressive therapy is conducted to reduce the destruction of insulin-producing cells by autoantibodies, after which hematopoietic stem cells are administered to the patient. Studies are also underway to grow pancreatic insulin-producing cells from stem cells of different types.
The Clinic of the Institute of Cell Therapy has gained a long successful experience of the use of stem cells in the treatment of type 2 diabetes in the framework of the clinical trials, as well as in the treatment of chronic wounds, trophic ulcers and other vascular complications in patients with diabetes. Thus, the storage of cord blood, umbilical cord and placenta stem cells, collected at birth, at the Cryobank can be considered as additional biological insurance for the case of diabetes mellitus.