Treating diabetes, injecting humans with pig cells

Doctors believe that pigs from remote group of island could hold the key of treating diabetes. They have had no human contacts, making them virtually disease free & thus potential source of tissue for human transplant. Scientists are now keeping some in sterile housing and are to transplant cells into patients with Type 1 diabetes in the hope of stimulating the pancreas to make insulin, a hormone vital in the conversion of sugar into energy.

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The radical treatment is unlikely to cure the condition, but could cut the amount of insulin diabetics need to take. It's different from the far more common Type 2 diabetes that is usually linked to obesity, where the body produces insulin but gradually loses the ability to use it properly.

Some scientists have warned implanting pig cells carries the risk of introducing a new virus to humans. The creatures have been kept & bred in pig palaces fully enclosed, sterile housing. The cells implanted into one of the volunteers continued producing insulin 12 years after being implanted proof of principle that this methodology can work.

Professor Bob Elliott said, “He was optimistic about the treatment though he admitted the treatment would not eliminate all of the symptoms. The risk of humans being infected with a porcine virus was largely theoretical. There is no evidence of a risk. Nobody has developed a retrovirus.”


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