Diabetes in Genetic Engineering


Diabetes is metabolic disorders characterized by high blood glucose. The high blood glucose is as a result of either the body cells failing to produce enough insulin or the body cells failing to respond to appropriately to insulin. The disease affects more than 380 million throughout the world (Rahman, 2015). Diabetes mellitus is of two types; type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 1diabetes is a form of diabetes in which does not produce insulin while type 2 diabetes is a type of diabetes in whereby the body cells produces insufficient insulin. On the other hand, insulin is a peptide hormone produced by the beta cells found in the pancreas. The insulin regulates the amount of blood sugar by either inhibiting the production of glucose by the liver or by enhancing the storage of glucose in the form of fats. Its deficiency leads to the victim suffering from type 1 diabetes. The disorder has no treatment, but one can manage it by insulin injections and proper diet and exercise.

However, with the current vast genetic knowledge there is a probability of developing a permanent cure of diabetes. Genetic engineering has a permanent solution to this problem. Scientists can produce insulin by inserting the insulin into bacteria that replicates the gene by transferring the gene to offspring and these bacteria release the insulin. The derived insulin is then injected into the bloodstream of the patient. In addition, genetic engineering provides another solution for the treatment of diabetes. Pluripotent stem cells like hESC and the induced pluripotent stem cells can replenish the destroyed beta cells to enhance the production of insulin (Baetge,2008). These cells have the ability to differentiate into all types of cells including the insulin-secreting beta cells. The article will discuss the treatment of diabetes using genetic engineering techniques:

Diabetes and Genetic Engineering:

Genetic engineering has been in use for some time in providing the treatment for diabetes whereby researchers produce insulin. The tradition technique applied in the production of insulin is the cloning method. In this method, the gene coding for insulin is inserted in bacteria that replicates the gene and produces a substantial amount of insulin used to manage diabetes (Redwan, 2008). However, with the modern technology the insulin-producing cells can be replenished by producing beta cells from pluripotent stems. The pluripotent stem cells differentiate into any body cells; therefore, they can produce beta cells that replace the dysfunctional ones. It is the most appropriate method of treating diabetes.

The pluripotent stem cells differentiate into all types of stem cells including insulin-secreting beta cells. One can derive the pluripotent cells from either the human embryonic stem cells or the induced pluripotent cells (Godfrey, 2012). The human embryonic stem cells are the stem cells that are formed immediately after the fertilization of an egg, and they are responsible for the formation of all other types of body cells. The induced pluripotent stem cells are cells derived from adult cells but are forced to express the factors and genes that define the properties of embryonic stem cells. Under appropriate conditions, these cells can differentiate into the beta cells, therefore, providing a source of the beta cells.

The beta cells of the islets of Langerhans found in the pancreas are responsible for the production of insulin. The destruction of these cells leads to low or no production of insulin; thus leading to the blood glucose levels going up causing diabetes. The ability to isolate and culture the pluripotent cells to derive the beta cells implies that this technology if useful in providing a means of secreting insulin within the body. Even though the original beta cells of the affected individual have failed to produce the hormone, there are cells to produce the insulin (Ebrahimie, 2014). Thus, unlike the tradition technique of cloning the gene coding for insulin in bacteria and relying on the bacteria to produce the insulin, this technique provides a more appropriate method of treating the disorder. The replacement of the destroying insulin-producing cells ensures that the hormone is constantly produced within the body, thus providing more permanent treatment diabetes. The traditional method relies on frequent injections to increase the insulin levels making it not an effective method of treatment because there might be delays in providing the injections.

Therefore, even though the use of pluripotent stem cells has a number of ethics including the source of these cells, it is a more appropriate treatment for diabetes.


Genetic engineering provides the treatment of diabetes either by producing insulin in bacteria and injecting it into diabetes victims or by replenishing the destroyed beta cells using the pluripotent stem cells (Baetge, 2008). However, the use of pluripotent stem cells to produce beta cells that replace the worn out beta cells is the most appropriate method of treating diabetes mellitus. The stakeholders in this field should solve the ethical issues surrounding this technique to provide a permanent cure to diabetic individuals.


Ebrahimie, M., Esmaeili, F., Cheraghi, S., Houshmand, F., Shabani, L., & Ebrahimie, E. (2014). Efficient and Simple Production of Insulin-Producing Cells from Embryonal Carcinoma Stem Cells Using Mouse Neonate Pancreas Extract, As a Natural Inducer. Plos ONE, 9(3), 1-12. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090885

Godfrey, K. J., Mathew, B., Bulman, J. C., Shah, O., Clement, S., & Gallicano, G. I. (2012). Stem cell-based treatments for Type 1 diabetes mellitus: bone marrow, embryonic, hepatic, pancreatic and induced pluripotent stem cells. Diabetic Medicine, 29(1), 14-23. doi:10.1111/j.1464-5491.2011.03433.x

Baetge, E. E. (2008). Production of β-cells from human embryonic stem cells. Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism, 10186-194. doi:10.1111/j.1463-1326.2008.00956.x

Redwan, E. M., Matar, S. M., El-Aziz, G. A., & Serour, E. A. (2008). Synthesis of the Human Insulin Gene: Protein Expression, Scaling Up and Bioactivity. Preparative Biochemistry & Biotechnology, 38(1), 24-39. doi:10.1080/10826060701774312

Rahman, M. S., Akter, S., Abe, S. K., Islam, M. R., Mondal, M. I., Rahman, J. S., & Rahman, M. M. (2015). Awareness, Treatment, and Control of Diabetes in Bangladesh: A Nationwide Population-Based Study. Plos ONE, 10(2), 1-14. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0118365

Carolyn Morgan is the author of this paper. A senior editor at MeldaResearch.Com in college research paper services. If you need a similar paper you can place your order from best medical essay service.

Leave Your Comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: