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Cure For Diabetes? American Diabetes Association Hopeful New Research Will Lead to End of Insulin Injections

August 7th 2006

Cure For Diabetes? American Diabetes Association Hopeful New Research Will Lead to End of Insulin Injections

A Cure?

Experts at the American Diabetes Association meeting say that early symptoms of diabetes and heart disease should be aggressively treated.  Half of all Americans will become insulin resistant, placing them at risk for diabetes. 

The American Diabetes Association says that researchers are working on a cure.  They say that cells transplanted six months ago from pigs into diabetic monkeys are alive and producing insulin. This is without the need for immune-suppressing drugs. 

So far the research has been done on rhesus monkeys.  They injected the monkeys, whose own pancreatic islets were destroyed, with encapsulate cells taken from pigs.  The good news is that the monkey’s immune systems did not recognize the substance as foreign and did not try to reject it. 


Nathaniel Clark says “If there's evidence that rejection is not occurring, despite no immune suppression, that's promising and potentially important for the future."  Clark is the vice president of clinical affairs of the American Diabetes Association.  He has seen the study and has worked very closely with MicroIslet, the San Diego based firm doing the research, and says that this is not yet a cure but is a big step forward. 

The researchers say that so far the monkeys have required about half the insulin they needed before the transplant.  Amazingly though, they say that if the science can be developed to a point at which the animals no longer need insulin injections, "then potentially, this could be a very important finding."


The Diabetes Association says that efforts to transplant pancreatic islets into patients with diabetes have had mixed results. Pancreatic cells from cadavers are in short supply, and transplant recipients must take immune-suppressing drugs for the rest of their lives, which can cause serious side effects.

MicroIslet is hoping to begin clinical trials.  They say that by taking the cells from pigs raised under sterile conditions, the problem of supply can be overcome.  The process does not require major surgery to implant the cells into the peritoneum.  The peritoneum is the membrane lining the abdominal region.


So far the cells have been functioning in the monkeys for six months. 

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Important:  The material on Best Syndication is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. You should promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness program.

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