Melbourne: A new study by researchers in Sydney has offered fresh hope to patients with insulin-dependent diabetes.
Professor Ann Simpson and her team at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), say that a cure for the condition could be developed in within three years.
They are leading the fight against type 1 diabetes, with two separate teams at Westmead and UTS attempting to beat the potentially deadly condition.
Researchers believe their study will lead to a treatment for type 1 diabetes after they successfully reversed the debilitating disease in mice, rats and pigs.
"We are thrilled with the results we have seen so far and I see absolutely no reason why the same technique will not work on humans," the Daily Telegraph quoted her as saying.
"It would release diabetics from having to inject insulin and, probably more importantly, it would help the people who are developing really bad complications, such as blindness, gangrene, heart problems, kidney failure and general neurological problems," she added.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach, stops making insulin. The body needs insulin to turn glucose (sugar) into energy.
Sufferers must inject daily doses of insulin to stop the potentially life-threatening ketoacidosis.
The cure would involve implanting the human insulin gene into the liver, which then secretes insulin instead of the pancreas.
Patients would need to undergo one-off keyhole surgery to inject the gene in the portal vein of the liver.