London: Diabetics could soon grow their own insulin, say scientists who claim to have found a way of curing the condition -- at least in men.
In its research, a team at Georgetown University Medical Centre has used tiny slivers of testicular tissue to make millions of healthy replacements for the faulty cells behind diabetes.
In experiments on mice, grafts of the laboratory-grown pancreatic cells produced enough insulin to control the blood sugar levels in diabetic mice.
Although the work is at an early stage, the American researchers believe it could lead to a cure for men and boys with type 1 diabetes in perhaps just five years, the `Daily
In the research, immature cells that normally go on to form sperm were turned into healthy insulin-producing cells.
The scientists started with tiny samples of tissue from human testicles. Using a cocktail of vitamins and growth factors, they transformed them first into stem, or "master, cells", and then into the beta islet cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. The process took around five weeks.
Layers of pancreatic cells were then grafted onto diabetic mice, where they produced enough insulin to control blood sugar levels for a week.