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A new experimental therapy to treat diabetes, which involves transplanting embryonic pig stem cells into the diseased tissue, is currently being researched. Experiments have been done on primates, but the results that have been obtained indicate that in the future the same technique could be applied to human beings. For many years, pig organs have been considered the most best match to be used in human transplants, but strong immune reactions and powerful combinations of anti-rejection drugs have always represented an important obstacle in their clinical use.
A study published in the
A DRUG said to cure diabetes could mean that sufferers will no longer need to take daily insulin injections.
The treatment uses stem cells made from human bone marrow and has been tested on patients suffering from Type 1 diabetes – which affects about 900,000 people in Britain.
Diabetes causes the immune system to attack the pancreas, the organ that makes insulin, which then controls blood-sugar levels.
Sufferers must take insulin injections to stay alive because if blood-sugar levels are allowed to rise too high or get too low, they could fall into a coma and die.
But early trials by American scientists
Alan Lewis of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation distinguishes type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and continues to explain how stem cells are being used today to develop new treatments for type 1 diabetes (a.k.a. juvenile diabetes). Human embryonic stem cells (hESC) are being differentiated to the beta (insulin producing) cells that type 1 diabetics lack, and are being transplanted , in animal models. Since type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease, the transplanted cells must be protect from destruction by the immune system. Currently, researchers are working towards that goal with encapsulating technologies and a “gentle” immuno-modulation. In
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Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have converted stem cells from the human endometrium into insulin-producing cells and transplanted them into mice to control the animals’ diabetes.
The endometrium, or uterine lining, is a source of adult stem cells. Normally, these cells generate uterine tissue each month as part of the menstrual cycle. Like other stem cells, however, they can divide to form other kinds of cells.
The study’s findings suggest the possibility that endometrial stem cells could be used to develop insulin-producing islet cells. These islet cells could then be used to advance the study
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SAN DIEGO – Novocell, a small, privately held San Diego company, may have found new ways to make money from its technique for coaxing human embryonic stem cells into insulin-producing pancreatic cells.
That’s good news in a field that has had trouble attracting investor funding. Many venture capital firms have been skittish because of politics and the nascency of the embryonic stem cell science.
The biotechnology company announced Tuesday that it received a patent that essentially gives it control over all endoderm cells made from human embryonic stem cells.
Endoderm cells are precursor cells that can eventually develop into cells