‘Spectacular’ diabetes treatment could end daily insulin injections
A potential medical breakthrough that could put an end to the daily insulin injections endured by people living with diabetes has been unveiled by Dutch scientists. By destroying the mucous membrane in the small intestine and causing a new one to develop, scientists stabilised the blood sugar levels of people with type 2 diabetes. The results have been described as “spectacular” – albeit unexpected – by the chief researchers involved.
In the hourlong procedure, trialled on 50 patients in Amsterdam, a tube with a small balloon in its end is inserted through the mouth of the patient down to the small intestine. The balloon is inflated with hot water and the mucous membrane burned away by the heat. Within two weeks a new membrane develops, leading to an improvement in the patient’s health.
Even a year after the treatment, the disease was found to be stable in 90% of those treated. It is believed there is a link between nutrient absorption by the mucus membrane in the small intestine and the development of insulin resistance among people with type 2 diabetes. Bergman added of the procedure that it was “amazing that people suffer very little from this”.
He told the Dutch broadcaster Nederlandse Omroep Stichting: “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.