For the first time, scientists have been able to turn human stem cells into fully grown insulin-producing cells. This important breakthrough is seen by the research team as an important step forward to developing a cure for Type 1 diabetes. The findings are reported in Nature Cell Biology.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that affects around 1.25 million people in the US. Around 40,000 cases are diagnosed each year, and that is increasing by about 3 percent every year. In Type 1 diabetes, beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed and without them, the body can’t produce insulin, a hormone that regulates glucose levels in the blood. Spikes in blood sugar can lead to severe conditions like kidney failure and even death, and so patients have to take daily doses of insulin.
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