Researchers at Harvard University announce a major diabetes breakthrough in finding a treatment and possible cure for type 1 diabetes from human embryonic stem cells.
The scientists were able to produce insulin-producing beta cells from stem cells in very large volumes that would be required for cell transplantation as well as pharmaceutical use. Lead researcher Doug Melton said they have the ability to create hundreds of millions of beta cells. He hopes to transplant them into humans within the next few years, making this diabetes breakthrough a reality.
Currently there’s about 30 million people in the USA that are believed to have diabetes according to CDC stats. That’s a staggering 9.3 % of the entire counties population. Diabetic patients must rely on daily insulin shots to keep their blood sugars stable. This includes monitoring glucose levels, a strict diet with carb counting and activity levels. If the team’s beta cells can be successfully transplanted into humans, it would mean the elimination for daily monitoring. And the cells would be doing the job of normal insulin-producing beta cells inside a pancreas.
There are very positive signs because the transplanted beta cells have worked on mice and quickly stabilized their insulin levels. Primates will be next to test this cell transplantation. After primate testing, then human testing will hopefully be the final test before commercialization and ready for the public.
Doug Melton with Peng Yi and his team are currently looking into encapsulating the cells inside of a protective shell in order to ensure their safety. This will prevent the immune system from attacking and destroying the beta cells
source: Washington Post