News Friday June 29, 2012

Research could completely reverse diabetes

New research is closer to finding a way to completely reverse advanced diabetes in adults after stem cell transplants were effective in doing so in mice.

By recreating the action of the insulin loop, the human stem cells can reverse diabetes in mice as they force the insulin levels to rise and fall in accordance with the glucose ingested.

After the mice had been weaned off insulin, the researchers removed the adapted cells and found that the mice were able to process the glucose on their own, without relying on insulin as they had done before, proving that the disease had been completely reversed.

Timothy Kieffer, the lead researcher in the study undertaken at Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada, said: “We are very excited by these findings, but additional research is needed before this approach can be tested clinically in humans.”

The diabetic mice used in the trials also had compromised immune systems, meaning that they would not reject the cells, researchers must now find a way to implant the cells in mice who are otherwise healthy in order to eventually being testing in humans.

Most adults with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes use diets and insulin injections as a way of controlling the disease, which affects more than two million people in the UK. It can lead to a number of complications, particularly when left untreated, as it can cause blood clots, heart failure and kidney problems.

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