Rare pigs from a remote group of islands off New Zealand could have a role to play in a new treatment for people with type 1 diabetes . Some of the pigs are now on the mainland, where they are living in enclosed, sterile housing.
At this stage, the process of cell transplantation is under trial, with a small group of type 1 diabetics hoping cells from the pigs can stimulate insulin production. The Professor in charge of the study, Bob Elliot, says that the trial has a proof of principle.
Diabetes UK research director Dr. Iain Frame was reported in diabetes news as saying: “Research into pig cell transplantation has been going on for several years, and is an exciting area of investigation. However, two previous trials in 1995 and 2007 used only 15 volunteers and this small study will be carried out in just eight people in the first instance. It really is far too early to assume that this research will produce a real and lasting benefit to people with Type 1 diabetes in the near future. We will, however, be watching the progress of this area of research with great interest.”

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