Two decades ago those diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes or diabetes mellitus, had little hope of escaping blindness, kidney failure, and possible loss of limbs. Thankfully, health medicine advances and biotech research have provided treatments that allow those with diabetes to live long and productive lives. Advances and information obtained from human genome studies have given health medicine researchers insight into cutting edge drug treatments and prevention technologies.
Human genome research has revealed that Type 1 diabetes is complex and mutations in more than one gene contribute to the likelihood of a person being diagnosed with the disease. Type 1 diabetes causes the body’s immune system to rage against its own pancreas cells and the insulin it produces. This inhibits the body from processing sugars and metabolizing food in a way that is not harmful to the body. The most common treatment is to inject insulin into the body so assist in the performance of these metabolic functions.
By understanding the genomes that are behind the disease, biotech researchers have development insulins that can more effectively treat the disease. New insulins offer diabetics the advantages of fewer injections per day, simpler regimens, and increased blood sugar stabilization. Three examples of insulins derived from DNA or human genome technology are: Aspart, Glargine, and Eli Lilly’s lispro mixture. These drugs vary in how fast or slow they act in the body as well as the type of needle or injector they required. This gives the patients much more choice and ability to work together with their physician to develop a drug therapy that best suits their lifestyle.
Biotech research has also provided insights in how to treat damage caused by the disease. For example, decoding the human genome has led to the development of a protein that blocks the growth of blood vessels in the eyes. A possible gene therapy is being considered to treat diabetic retinopathy which can often lead to blindness.
As human genome research continues to identify missing and/or malfunctioning genes, more possibilities for cutting edge therapy become available for not only Type 1 diabetes but also other diseases.
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