Could diabetics produce their own insulin?
In what could be the biggest breakthrough in years toward a cure for type 1 diabetes, researchers at Harvard University say they have developed a way of transforming stem cells to help diabetics produce their own insulin.
Three million Americans have type 1 diabetes, which often develops in childhood. The disease causes the body's immune system to attack and destroy insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Without insulin, a hormone that helps convert food into energy, the body cannot regulate blood sugar levels. Patients with type 1 diabetes need to give themselves daily insulin injections or wear an insulin pump to keep their blood sugar under control.
What the Harvard researchers did was take human stem cells, which have the potential to develop into different types of cells, and turned them into insulin-producing beta cells in the lab.