Cure for Type 1 Diabetes Imminent After Harvard Stem Cell Breakthrough
Scientists say they have made a "giant leap forward" in finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes following a breakthrough in stem-cell related research.
Researchers at Harvard University claim a cure for the disease could be imminent after they were able to create insulin-producing cells, which are almost identical to those found in the human body using embryonic stem cells.
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Described as a "major medical breakthrough", scientists have recreated human beta cells in such quantity that cell transplantation is now possible, signalling an end to the daily insulin injections and health complications linked to Type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes accounts for around 10% of all adults with the incurable disease and is the most common type of diabetes found in childhood.
The stem cells currently undergoing trials on animals and other primates, are still producing insulin after several months.
It is hoped human transplant trials using the created cells will start within a few years.
Doug Melton, Xander University Professor at Harvard University, who led the work, said: "While there have been previous reports of other labs deriving beta cell types from stem cells, no other group has produced mature beta cells as suitable for use in patients," he said.
"The biggest hurdle has been to get to glucose-sensing, insulin-secreting beta cells, and that's what our group has done."
Melton dedicated his career to finding a cure for the disease 23 years ago after his infant son Sam was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
"We are now just one preclinical step away from the finish line," sa Continue reading