Pig Cells Connected To A T1 Diabetes Cure?
By Mike Boyle

It was back in April when DiabetesCare.net alerted you to studies done in New Zealand and Europe that offered a renewed hope of a cure for type 1 diabetes after what was described as successful human trials involving pig cells transplanted into the bodies of a dozen humans to control diabetes. At the time, it was claimed that two of the patients were able to stop using insulin, and a new trial was being considered in Australia.

Now there is news that researchers from Washington University in St. Louis say they`ve managed to eliminate the disease in rats using transplanted pig cells, and without the need for anti-rejection drugs, according to a report from Discovery News.

For their study, researchers injected embryonic pancreatic pig cells into rats. The cells grow to become the pancreas, the organ responsible for producing insulin and regulating blood sugar. Several weeks later, the scientists injected a second dose of cells, this time from adult pigs.

Discovery News further reports that the rats` bodies accepted the transplant and began producing enough insulin to regulate their systems, all without the need for anti-rejection drugs.

The researchers are now beginning experimentation using the same methods on non-human primates. If that works, they hope to introduce the therapy to humans.

The results of the Washington University study are available from the American Journal of Pathology.

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Originally posted July 1, 2010.