Diabetes research advancement by Scottish team

Mon, 11 Sep 2006
Scientists in Scotland have reported a major breakthrough in the development of stem cell treatments for diabetes. The basis of their research? An African frog.

The research was conducted by a team at the Institute for Stem Cell Research at Edinburgh University . They have discovered a key protein that may have a role in encouraging fledgling stem cells to develop into vital pancreatic cells. Amongst patients who have diabetes, the function and presence of insulin producing pancreatic cells is severely reduced.

The team uncovered the protein in an African clawed frog. Dr. Josh Brickman, who led the research, said that this protein may therefore be able to turn embryonic stem cells into cells that produce insulin. This gives rise to the potential for huge advancements in diabetes treatment, and even the possibility of a cure.

Stem cell therapy has long been touted as the next stage in diabetes treatment, and it could be that this dream is beginning to become true. Scotland has become recognised as one of the global centres of diabetes research, with several pioneering discoveries reported from the country . Diabetes in the UK is a serious problem, with well over 2 million diabetics diagnosed.
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