World Health Day 2016
This year the WHO is focusing its World Health Day on diabetes. Every 7th of April, since 1950, the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrate a global health awareness day. It draws worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health.
Diabetes is a chronic non-communicable disease that is rapidly increasing in numbers in many countries, most dramatically in low- and middle-income countries. The health of diabetic people is deteriorating with time as it can also lead to cardiovascular disease, blindness, kidney failure, loss of limbs and loss of life. Early care can prevent complications and allows a better and longer life.
An increasing disease
Diabetes occurs is 2 main forms:
- When the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, type 1 diabetes (T1D)
- when the body produces insulin but cannot effectively use it, type 2 diabetes (T2D)
People with T1D, the form that comprises 5% of cases, need constant management of their blood sugar level and require insulin injections to survive.
With already about 350 million people in the world have diabetes, the disease cause directly some 1.5 million deaths. WHO projects that it will be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030.
The goals of the World Health Day 2016 regading the fight against diabetes are:
- Increase awareness about the rise in diabetes and its consequences
- Tackle diabetes by scaling up prevention, and strengthening the care for people with diabetes
- Improve surveillance with the launch on the first Global report on diabetes
Currently, there is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes and available treatments are heavy and restrictive for the patient’s daily life. One lead for a cure is the transplantation of a functional pancreas, but there are not nearly enough donor organs available.
This is why LSFM4LIFE researchers had the idea of growing intact insulin-producing cells from donor organs in the laboratory to form organoids, which they would then transplant into the pancreas of diabetes patients. This may be a final solution for people suffering from type 1 diabetes.