With a rapid increase in the size of the aging population, obesity rising at an alarming rate, and sedentary lifestyles becoming more common, diabetes has evolved into one of the most devastating diseases that affects millions of people worldwide. According to a survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 422 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes worldwide. Out of which, approximately 10 percent are affected with Type 1 diabetes. The number continues to rise at an unprecedented rate.
One of the common issues among diabetes patients is that they lose the ability to produce sufficient amounts of insulin, causing sugar to build up in the bloodstream. This can consequently result in a number of complications and in some cases, can even be fatal. Though the exact cause of Type 1 diabetes is unknown, in most cases, the body’s immune system deceptively attacks healthy pancreatic cells.
Stem cells have the potential to cure diseases that are presently incurable and can offer lasting treatment for chronic disorders. This is due to their regenerative capabilities. In the near future, stem cell treatment is anticipated to provide a promising new approach to modulating the immune system to prevent or successfully treat diabetes.
Progress toward ‘switching off’ diabetes
Over the past few years, stem cell treatment has received a lot of attention in the research space for its ability to improve the functionality of any component of the human body including nerves, organs, and tissues, and stimulate the restoration mechanisms of a living organ to rebuild damaged tissues. Consequently, the recent invention of new molecules and trials conducted by a number of medical institutions are proving that stem cell therapy is a new ray of hope for Type 1 diabetes patients.
According to a pipeline analysis conducted by Technavio, one of the most promising approaches for ‘switching off’ diabetes is to transplant beta cells, which sense blood sugar levels and produce insulin to reduce them. Patients with Type 1 diabetes will benefit immensely, as new beta cells will replace the ones that are lost to the disease, meanwhile Type 2 diabetic patients could increase their body’s ability to produce insulin, lowering blood sugar levels and consequently alleviating the need for injections.
The next frontier in stem cell therapy, but still at a developmental stage
Despite the massive opportunity, the fact remains that stem cell-based biologic applications for people with diabetes are still in a state of extreme infancy, especially from a commercial perspective. While the potential for profit is undeniable, there is no real way of expressing what kind of business model will ultimately emerge from the market, specifically in terms of the vendor landscape.
Though still in its nascent stages, stem cell therapy for diabetes has already witnessed impressive growth over the past few years, thanks to a number of crucial drivers including the immense increase in sales of regenerative medicines, the rising number of diabetic patients throughout the world and of course, constant development of new technologies by top institutions. Going forward, with researchers striving to launch innovative solutions, the use of stem cell treatment for diabetes will grow at an unprecedented rate in the future.
Taking all facts into consideration, it seems safe to say that although the potential for growth in the global stem cell therapies market is firmly established, the identity of the eventual dominator of this segment is far from being set in stone. However, summarily, the growth of stem cell therapy to cure diabetes will be entirely based on the following factors- innovation and the dedicated development of breakthrough molecules.