Monkey cured with Pig Cells – Possible cure for Diabetes type 1
February 28th, 2006
Researchers from the University of Minnesota’s Diabetes Institute for
Immunology and Transplantation were successful at curing diabetes in
monkeys using islet cells from pigs. First reported online in the
February 19th issue of Nature Medicine the researchers hope
to begin human trials in the next three years.
There has been success previously in reversing type 1 diabetes in
humans; however there would not be enough islet cells available for
transplantation to treat the number of people that need the treatment.
The hope is that islet cells from pigs would work.
"These results suggest it is feasible to use pig islet cells as a path
to a far-reaching cure for diabetes," said Bernhard J. Hering, M.D.,
associate professor of surgery and lead investigator. "Now that we have
identified critical pathways involved in immune recognition and
rejection of pig islet transplants, we can begin working on better and
safer immunosuppressant therapies with the eventual goal of bringing the
treatment to people."
Spring Point Project is a non-profit corporation that is setting up to
raise pigs that would be of extremely good health for the transplants
for humans. It is building biosecure facilities which meet the federal
requirements when animal tissue is used for humans. It is in hopes that
the researchers at the University will be ready to begin trials when the
pigs are ready for transplantation.
Islet transplantation has cured type 1 diabetes; the researchers say
possibly type 2 as well. The islet cells if successfully transplanted
would be able to monitor glucose levels and will release the amount of
insulin needed. Once a transplant is successful, the person would not
have to take insulin injections any longer.
Best Syndication Staff Writer
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