Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Scientists have successfully reversed diabetes in mice using stem cells, paving the way for a breakthrough treatment for the illness. The research is the first to show that human stem cell transplants can successfully restore insulin production and reverse diabetes in mice. Crucially, the team re-created the 'feedback loop' that enables insulin levels to automatically rise or fall based on blood glucose levels. Diabetes affects more than two million people in Britain. After the stem cell transplant, the diabetic mice were weaned off insulin, a procedure designed to mimic human clinical conditions. Three to four months later, the mice were able to maintain healthy blood sugar levels even when being fed large quantities of sugar. Transplanted cells removed from the mice after several months had all the markings of normal insulin-producing pancreatic cells.