An experimental treatment for type 2 diabetes is being tested by scientists for its potential to end the use of insulin injections.
Dutch scientists are working on an experimental treatment for type 2 diabetes (T2D) that could put an end to daily insulin injections. The new treatment reportedly involves a surgical method for stabilizing the blood sugar levels of T2D patients.
According to the World Health Organization, around 422 million adults are living with diabetes. The majority of these individuals have Type 2 diabetes, a condition in which the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.
If the experiment is successful, it could replace the costly insulin injection treatment currently used to control the glucose level of diabetes patients.
“Because of this treatment, the use of insulin can be postponed or perhaps prevented. That is promising,” Jacques Bergman, a professor of gastroenterology at Amsterdam UMC and one of the researchers, said in a statement.
How the Experimental Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Works
The experimental treatment for type 2 diabetes includes a surgical procedure known as duodenal mucosal resurfacing (DMR). During a one-hour operation, the surgeons destroy the mucous membrane in the small intestine so a new one can grow in its place.
During the operation, researchers insert a tube with a small balloon filled with hot water through the mouth of the patient all the way to the small intestine. The hot water is used to burn away the sensitive membrane.
50 T2D patients participated in the experiment. The year-long study produced promising results with patients immediately showing improvement just six months after the surgery. According to the researchers, this could help doctors better map treatment strategies for T2D patients in the future.
“With those people, we see a spectacular improvement in blood sugar levels one day after the operation, before they even lose one kilo, which has put us on the track,” Bergman went on to say.
“Because the question now is whether this is a permanent treatment, or whether it is something that you have to keep repeating – something that in theory should be possible. We looked at whether we could stop their insulin, which is still ongoing, but the first results are truly spectacular, with the lion’s share of patients no longer using insulin after this treatment.”
The researchers published their paper in the journal Diabetes.