Type 1 diabetes or juvenile diabetes is an autoimmune disease that results when insulin-producing pancreatic ß cells are damaged due to some infection. T cells mediated destruction takes place when the body destroys healthy cells mistaking them to be infected, as a result, the insulin-producing function of the pancreas is lost and the patient develops IDDM or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and the patient becomes dependant on exogenous insulin for life.
This is a life-threatening condition wherein if a single dose of insulin is missed the patient can develop diabetic ketoacidoses or diabetic coma. The patient has to have insulin shots, sometimes more than 4-5 shots everyday to survive rain or shine. Patients with type 1 diabetes must test their blood sugar several times a day to keep their sugar in control and maintain healthy HbA1C levels which are less than 6.5 mmol/mol. But if this desirable and recommended level of HbA1C is not maintained patients may develop complications like kidney failure (nephropathy), loss of vision, blindness (diabetic retinopathy) loss of sensation (neuropathy), heart disease, etc. More so the average lifespan of a type 1 diabetic is at least 5 years less than a normal human being.
Therefore the need to preserve the remaining ß cell function is of great significance. Those diagnosed with IDDM have a potential cure when adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells therapy is used as shown by several studies. This therapy could not only address the need for ß cell replacement but also the regulation of the autoimmune response to cells which produce insulin. Mesenchymal stem cells are able to control T cells autoimmunity.