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Groundbreaking cell transplant could cure diabetes

Photo: Jill A. Brown via flickr

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have completed testing on a Type 1 diabetes treatment involving transplanting “islet cells”, or insulin producing cells known to reverse and even diminish the disease.

So far, 48 people have undergone the groundbreaking experimental treatment which seeks to eliminate one of America’s most serious health problems.

Now, the U of M is preparing to apply for a manufacturing license from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which would allow the U of M to commercialize the new treatment. This, as officials have noted, would serve as an excellent example of how academic research can lead to human treatment without any company funding.

“That is completely and entirely unheard of,” said Bernhard J. Hering, M.D., who leads the project at the U of M.

If the FDA approves, Hering said, doctors will be able to prescribe the human islets instead of insulin injections.

About 1.5 million people have Type 1 diabetes in the U.S., which results when the body’s autoimmune system destroys its own islet cells. Of those, 100,000 experience what’s known as hypoglycemic unawareness.

Read the full story from the Star Tribune here.

  1. May 22, 2013 6:06 am | Janet Lebkicher Says:

    How does one get on the list to have the transplant. My daughter needs this very badly.