The World Health Organisation estimates there are 171 million diabetes sufferers worldwide and that the number will grow to 366 million in 2030. The United States prevalence is 17.9 million with a further 5.7 million undiagnosed.
The total (direct and indirect) spending on diabetes in the United States is currently estimated at US$174 billion or one of every 10 health care dollars spent. The direct medical cost is US$116 billion having doubled over the past five years. The average annual medical spending for a diabetic in the USA is more than US$15,000.
The global diabetes market was worth US$27.3 billion in 2008.
In a preclinical model, Mesoblast has shown that its proprietary adult stem cells could be an effective treatment for diabetes.
In the study, a single dose of the patented human MPCs injected into mice with diabetes resulted in a significant increase in blood insulin levels and sustained reduction in blood glucose levels for the entire three week period of follow-up. This was due to restoration in the damaged pancreas of the balance between insulin-producing beta cells, which reduce blood glucose, and glucagon-producing alpha cells, which increase blood glucose.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95 per cent of the 230 million diabetics in the western world, and its prevalence is increasing at an alarming rate. Complications include heart disease, chronic kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage and lower extremity amputations. Injections of insulin are used only as a last resort in Type 2 diabetics because of the risk of lowering glucose levels too greatly and too rapidly (hypoglycemia). Newer treatment modalities for Type 2 diabetes aim to enhance the ability of pancreatic beta cells to produce more insulin in an effort to better control blood glucose.
Mesoblast’s preclinical trial results suggested that the MPCs enhanced endogenous pancreatic beta cell regeneration, resulting in sustained augmentation of insulin secretion and reduction in blood glucose levels.
Mesoblast intends to move towards translating these results to humans.