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UNC scientists turn human skin cells into insulin-producing cells
Date:9/17/2008

ase that occurs when the body is unable to produce or use insulin properly. Virtually all patients with type I diabetes, the more severe of the two types, must rely on daily injections of insulin to maintain their blood sugar levels.

Recent research exploring a possible long-term treatment the transplantation of insulin-producing beta cells into patients has yielded promising results. But this approach faces its own challenges, given the extreme shortage of matched organ donors and the need to suppress patients' immune systems.

The work by Zhang and other researchers could potentially address those problems, since insulin-producing cells could be made from diabetic patients' own reprogrammed cells.

Zhang is collaborating with Buse to obtain skin samples from diabetes patients. He said he hoped his current experiments will take this approach one step closer to a new treatment or even a cure for diabetes.


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Contact: Les Lang
llang@med.unc.edu
919-966-9366
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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