People who have type 1 diabetes must inject insulin into their bodies each day and often times that results in redness, swelling, itchiness and pain where the insulin is injected.
However, that might soon become something of the past. A new breakthrough brings us a step closer to what is being calling a functional cure of type 1 diabetes.
Researchers from Harvard and MIT have used cells that are insulin producing to restore the function of insulin in lab mice for an extended time
During 2014, this same group used different stem cells to create mass produced beta cells that were insulin producing. Now they have taken the mass producing cells and transplanted them into lab mice, effectively turning off the disease for as long six months, without provoking any insulin response.
People that have type 1 diabetes are not able to produce insulin with their pancreas. Insulin is critical in helping the body to control is levels of glucose in the blood.
Without insulin, the body s sugar content builds up inside the bloodstream rather than it being channeled elsewhere for energy.
The exact cause of this type of diabetes is unknown, but scientists believe it has to do with the immune system of the body and how it attacks the cells that are the ones that make insulin.
To make a therapy that is effective that does not rely on daily injections of insulin, researchers from Harvard, MIT, and the Boston Children s Hospital amongst other institutions, designed material that encapsulated the human pancreatic cells before their transplant.
Researchers used embryonic stem cells in order to generate human cells that were insulin producing, which were nearly identical to a normal cell.
Following transplantation inside mice, the cells started to produce insulin as a response to the levels of blood glucose.
That cured the lab mice for 174 days, which is equal in human terms to several years.