Type 1 diabetes cure imminent after stem-cell breakthrough

10 October 2014

Research at Harvard University, Massachusetts, has suggested that embryonic stem cells could help develop a cure for type 1 diabetes.

The team announced that they have made a significant leap towards a cure for the disease, which would mean sufferers no longer have to inject themselves with insulin. They used human embryonic stem cells to help them produce human insulin-producing beta cells in the high quantities needed to make transplantation possible.

Dr Doug Melton, who led the work, said he hopes to have these cells being transplanted into humans in clinical trials in the next few years. He said they are now "just one preclinical step away from the finish line".

The study, which is published in the journal Cell, is the result of decades of work to try and manipulate stem cells to produce the insulin that the body desperately needs when it has type 1 diabetes.

Dr Elaine Fuchs, the Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor at Rockefeller University, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, called the breakthrough one of the "most important advances to date in the stem cell field".

Posted by Edward Bartel


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