Sue Marshall blogs about diabetes for Desang

Type 1 Diabetes Cure Research Takes a Step Forward | Diabetes News Hound | January 15, 2010

More bacon flesh on the monkey bones of ‘pigs in knickers’ islet transplants… honest. I really think this will get to market. We were on porcine and bovine insulins to start with, stopped us dying before the ‘human’ insulins were grown…. This sounds silly, but — I have to say it — it’s not just monkey business, nor do they seem to be making a pig’s ear of it.

As reported on Diabetes Newshound: “Revivivor Inc., and the University of Pittsburgh recently announced that they have successfully ‘cured’ a diabetic laboratory monkey by injecting it with insulin-producing cells, known as islets, from genetically modified pigs. Scientists altered the pigs by giving them a gene that makes a protein found on the surface of human cells. The protein helps to regulate the body’s attack response to foreign bodies……

A company official says the results achieved by Revivicor are the best in the world because previous similar animal trials ‘cured’ monkeys of their diabetes for only six months. However, the ‘cure’ is not a true cure because the monkeys required immunosuppressant drugs, according to the Roanoke Times article.

The drugs are used to prevent the body from destroying the newly transplanted insulin-producing cells. A cure would not require such drugs. However, despite the drugs, which weaken the immune system, the monkeys remained healthy. That may be, in part, due to the fact that the pigs used were genetically altered so that the monkeys would be less likely to reject the cells.

The company, which has ties to the first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep back in the 1990s, says that the limited availability of human donors makes harvesting islets from animals ideal. That’s because it would provide a nearly unlimited supply of islets, according to the article.

The company says its plans to submit an application with the Food and Drug Administration to being human trials. It predicts that testing on diabetic humans could begin in two years and run for three to five more years. ”

via Type 1 Diabetes Cure Research Takes a Step Forward | Diabetes News Hound.

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