Ground-breaking breakthrough could make painful pinpricks history for diabetics

A new research has revealed that it is possible for diabetics to produce their own insulin, which will make the daily insulin injections a history.

ANI| Updated: Oct 10, 2014, 12:45 PM IST

London: A new research has revealed that it is possible for diabetics to produce their own insulin, which will make the daily insulin injections a history.

The researchers at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, managed to make hundreds of millions of mature human pancreatic cells to treat diabetic mice successfully over long periods of time, the Independent reported.

Human stem cells were coaxed into mature "beta" cells, which make the insulin hormone within the pancreas, using a cocktail of 11 chemical growth factors and patients with type-1 diabetes lack beta cells because they are destroyed by their own immune systems.

Researcher Chris Mason said that a scientific breakthrough is to make functional cells that cure a diabetic mouse, but a major medical breakthrough is to be able to manufacture at large enough scale the functional cells to treat all diabetics and therefore this research is a scientific and potentially a major medical breakthrough.

Lead author Doug Melton said that there have been previous reports of other labs deriving beta cell types from stem cells, but no other group has produced mature beta cells as suitable for use in patients.

Melton, who was inspired to start the research 23 years ago after his infant son Sam was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes, added that the biggest hurdle has been to get to glucose-sensing, insulin-secreting beta cells, and that's what their group has done.

Daniel Anderson, professor of applied biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that this advance opens the doors to an essentially limitless supply of tissue for diabetic patients awaiting cell therapy.