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Originally Answered: Is type 1 diabetes curable or not?
To understand this, you should learn what causes type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is caused because the body’s immune system got confused and decided to kill the insulin producing beta cells in the body.
Now, how do you fix this? Scientists have been trying the following:
Transplant beta cells into the body. Unfortunately, the immune system continues to think these cells are alien invaders and kills them.
Protect transplanted beta cells from the immune system. Beta cells are packed in a protective covering and transplanted. The protective covering effectively creates a wall and prevents the immune system from entering and killing the beta cells. This does not work long term since the user has to take immunosuppressants for this to work. Taking immunosuppressants makes one susceptible to things like common cold, etc.
Fix the immune system completely. If I recall correctly, the entire blood has been replaced to get rid of the faulty immune system. However, new blood cells that are created have the same defect and will kill the transplanted beta cells. For this to work, the entire blood supply has to be replaced periodically. Definitely not what I would call a cure.
Coax some other cells to produce insulin. This seems to be the most promising approach. If some other cells can be genetically engineered to produce insulin, this can work as long as these cells are different from the beta cells. This involves injecting these genetically modified cells into the body to produce insulin. Once these cells die, another injection has to be taken and so on.
This is the reality. Science and the pharmaceutical industry are working hard to find a solution. In the meantime, take your insulin shots and follow a healthy life style – hopefully, a cure will be found in your lifetime.
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