Stem cells could cure type 1 diabetes scientists say

By Benjamin Flowers

Scientists in the United States have used stem cells to create a treatment which could potentially cure type one diabetes.

Several universities, including Harvard University, used stem cells to create insulin-producing cells which when used in animal trials shut down the effects of Type one Diabetes.

The experiment, done on mice, managed to keep diabetes away for six months, which researchers say would be the equivalent to several years for humans.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) funded the research, which researchers published in the journals Nature Medicine and Nature Biotechnology.

Julia Greenstein, vice president of discovery research at JDRF, the world’s leading type one diabetes research charity, said they hope to see the therapies move from the animal to clinical trials stage, and eventually become a new form of therapy.

“They effectively establish long-term insulin independence and eliminate the daily burden of managing the disease for months, possibly years, at a time without the need for immune suppression,” Greenstein said.

Type one diabetes is an autoimmune disease (condition where the body damages itself) that causes the pancreas to stop producing insulin – the hormone which regulates blood glucose levels.

Unlike type two diabetes, where people either have too little insulin or can’t use it effectively, with type one diabetes, formerly juvenile onset diabetes, patients have a total lack of insulin.

The US Center For disease Control (CDC) reports that around 10 percent of all diabetes is type one, but it is the most common type of childhood diabetes.

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