New hope for diabetes patients from cell transplant

Tue, 31 Jul 2007
A new form of insulin-producing cells can make a major difference to type 1 diabetics . The cells could aid doctors and healthcare professionals in using cell transplants to treat type 1 diabetic patients.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system automatically attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells. Implanting beta cells into the body surpasses the need for insulin injections, a daily routine for type 1 diabetics.

The past has seen numerous attempts to transplant beta cells into type 1 diabetic patients, with very varied results. Usually, implanted cells cease insulin production after a certain period. However, fresh research at the John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, have developed a magnetic casting that protects beta cells whilst still allowing insulin out. These cells can also be tracked.

Study author Aravind Arepally, an assistant professor, reportedly commented: "We're really excited because we can track where we put the cells, and make sure their protective housing stays intact and that the cells don't move. This could solve the mystery of why current transplantation techniques work only for so long."
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