The prevalence of Type 2 diabetes is growing rapidly worldwide. Pets like cats and dogs can also develop diabetes.
But do you know that hyperglycemia or diabetes is either unreported or unusual in pigs, cows and other domesticated mammals. These animals seem to be more resistant to diabetes. Not only the pigs seem to be resistant to diabetes, this animal has been useful in the treatment of diabetes in man. The porcine insulin (an exogenous source of insulin) has been used for decades now to treat type 2 diabetes in man.
As there are several limitations of glucose monitoring and insulin delivery systems, ---hence a system which can sense blood glucose levels and then secrete appropriate amounts of mature insulin is needed. The cellular therapy appears to be very promising for people with diabetes. Transplanting insulin producing cells of the pancreas may obviate the need for insulin injections. If human islet cells are transplanted from an appropriate donor a lifetime of anti-rejection drugs is needed---which is not good.
The pigs have been shown to be promising as donor animal for insulin producing cells (beta cells of the pancreas) as well.
In research studies scientists have noted that injected embryonic pig pancreatic cells into rats grew to form the pancreas (the organ with insulin producing cells). As the blood glucose in pigs is maintained in the same physiological range as of humans and porcine insulin has been used for decades pigs are generally considered the most promising donor animal for insulin producing cells (beta cells of the pancreas).
Probably a few years later transplantation of cells from pig pancreas will be able to provide a permanent cure for diabetes in man.
Dr Poonam Sachdeva, our in-house medical expert talks about the why what and how in diabetes.
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