DECEMBER 17, 2013
Dental stem cells and diabetes
Over 30 million people have now been diagnosed with diabetes in India. The population of India is more than 1000 million; this helps to give an idea of the scale to which the problem of diabetes resides. There are many people who are unaware of the fact that they have diabetes until a severe ailment arises. The estimate of the actual number of diabetics in India is around 40 million. India is thus being termed as the 'Diabetes capital of the world'.
Over the past 30 years, the status of diabetes has changed from being considered as a mild disorder of the elderly to one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality affecting the youth and middle aged people.
Types of diabetes:
Diabetes causes blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal. This is also called hyperglycemia. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it is not able to keep up and cannot make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels. People with type 2 Diabetes may have no symptoms for nearly 5-7 years after high glucose levels develop. Even when there are no symptoms of diabetes, they may experience vague symptoms like tiredness, muscle pain, headache, anxiety etc.
Type 1 diabetes also known as insulin dependent diabetes or Juvenile diabetes is majorly seen in children and young adults. In this type of diabetes the pancreas fails to produce any insulin and hence have to depend on external factors like insulin pens or injections. Though most individuals are unaware about type 1 diabetes, there is an increase in the prevalence of type-1 diabetes also. However, the major driver of the epidemic is the more common form of diabetes, namely type 2 diabetes, which accounts for more than 90 per cent of all diabetes cases.
Diabetes is driven due to two major factors. First the ‘fast-foods’, that are fat and calorie rich are easily available in the numerous food joints. As majority of the Indian depend on these unhealthy ‘junk’ foods, this may be a major factor in the rising prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The next factor driving the epidemic is what is known as ‘sedentarinism’ or the adoption of sedentary behavior. Studies suggest that the prevalence of diabetes was almost three times higher in individuals with light physical activity compared to those having heavy physical activity.
Stem cell banking:
Keeping in mind the alarming condition of growth of Diabetes in India, the innovative concept of using stem cells and precisely dental stem cells is proposed, researched and developed. For the preservation of these stem cells, various Dental stem cell banks were set up in various parts of India. This step has not only brought about a significant medication for diabetes but also an alternative to the hunt for an appropriate donor.
Dental Stem Cells Banking 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.
The quantity and quality of dental stem cells decrease with age and therefore, younger the age of the person the better the stem cells. The collected stem cells can be used repair and cure 'tissue & organ related diseases' such as bone, cartilage, liver, diabetes, arthritis and many more. These stem cells are preserved and safeguarded for the future health of a child and can be later retrieved for the cure of many diseases. This eliminates the need to find a suitable donor and associated complications.
Dental pulp stem cells are plentiful and easy to collect. Unlike other modes of getting stem cells, these stem cells are easy to collect as children lose their milk teeth as a part of growing up. These children can give one of their 'about to fall' milk teeth for securing their future. 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.
This approach is a proposed cure to prevent type 1 as well as type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity with adult stem cells and restoration of insulin production by adult stem cells.
This is a Guest Post by Mr. Shailesh Gadre (Managing Director) from Stemade. Stemade introduced the path breaking concept of Dental Stem Cells Preservation in India by launching its operations in Mumbai & Delhi. Since then, Dental Stem Cells Preservation is proving to be a perfect opportunity for those who missed the umbilical cord banking and complements those who have done only cord blood banking.