"Giant leap forward" for possible type 1 diabetes cure
In what's been described as "potentially a major medical breakthrough," a team at Harvard University says it has sucessfully used embryonic stem cells to cure type 1 diabetes in mice..
Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system destroying the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, which differs from the more common type 2 diabetes, which is largely due to an unhealthy lifestyle.
According to a report in the journal Cell, the Harvard scientists were able to tranplant stem cells into the kidney of a diabetic mouse and two weeks later, it showed no signs of the diseae.
For their new technique to work in people with type 1 diabetes, the researchers need to add another component that stops a recipient's immune system from attacking the 150 million or so stem cells they would receive. They are, however, now working with scientists at the MIT to develop an implant that protects the cells from immune attack.