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Islet cells producing insulin cultivated in the lab

Now there is an answer, not to far, to the complexities of Type I diabetics and insulin injections. This is according to researchers at the University of Calgary whose bioengineering team announced //that they have developed a way of growing pancreatic cells in their laboratory.

In the words of Dr. Leo Behie, “This is a significant milestone on the path to effectively producing human tissue that may be used to treat Type 1 diabetes. There is a huge international push to find a human pancreatic cell source — a Holy Grail of sorts — that could be used for transplantation," he said. "Once it is found, our lab will be ready to grow these cells in a clinically acceptable manner."

Behie and colleagues reported they have cultured human cells that are believed to be good candidates for generating islet cells that can make insulin.

The successful growth and characterization of these functional islet cells in the lab led to the conclusion that they may be suitable for treating individuals with Type 1 diabetes. Happy at this feat Donna Lillie of the Canadian Diabetes Association said, "This is very encouraging news for people with Type 1 diabetes who look forward to a future without this serious condition."

Scientists at the University of Alberta in Edmonton were the first to successfully transplant islet cells into people with diabetes in 2000, freeing them from insulin injections.

The bottleneck with this study as of now is that it takes pancreas cells from as many as three donor cadavers to supply enough for one patient transplant. Still it is an excellent beginning and paves way for breakthrough treatment of Type I diabetes


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