An insulin breakthrough at Harvard University may be the key to curing Type 1 diabetes. The disease an autoimmune condition that causes the pancreas to stop producing insulin. The hormone regulates blood glucose levels.
According to News Max, the breakthrough involves stem cells that can soon make once-rare pancreatic transplants more common for Type 1 diabetics. Scientists even suggest that the new modern medicine discovery can potentially reverse their condition. It’s a discovery being hailed as significant as antibiotics.
The insulin breakthrough for Type 1 diabetes by Harvard University has managed to manufacture the millions of beta cells required for transplantation. It could mean the end of daily insulin injections for the millions of people living with Type 1 diabetes. The stem cell-derived beta cells are presently undergoing trials in animal models, including non-human primates, where they are still producing insulin after several months
According to Examiner, the “technique was tested in mice suffering from type 1 diabetes. The scientists found that beta cells obtained in the laboratory could produce insulin and control blood sugar levels in the blood of the mice for months.”
While diabetics can keep their glucose levels under general control by injecting insulin, that does not provide the fine tuning necessary to properly control metabolism, which can lead to devastating complications such as blindness or loss of limbs.
Around 10 percent of all diabetes is Type 1, but it is the most common type of childhood diabetes in the world, and the insulin breakthrough can change all that.
The team at Harvard used embryonic stem cells to produce human insulin-producing cells equivalent in almost every way to normally functioning cells in vast quantities.
Chris Mason, Professor of Regenerative Medicine, University College London, said it was “potentially a major medical breakthrough.”
“If this scalable technology is proven to work in both the clinic and in the manufacturing facility, the impact on the treatment of diabetes will be a medical game-changer on a par with antibiotics and bacterial infections.”
Professor Anthony Hollander, Head of Institute of Integrative Biology at the University of Liverpool, added:
“This is very exciting fundamental research that solves a major roadblock in the development of a stem cell treatment for diabetes. The study provides a very elegant and convincing method for generating functional insulin-producing cells in large numbers.”
The insulin breakthrough for Type 1 diabetes is an important advance for the field and people with Type 1 diabetes. Professor Elaine Fuchs, of Rockefeller University, described the findings as “one of the most important advances to date in the stem cell field”. A report on the work is published in the journal Cell.