Major breakthrough in search for cure of Type 1 diabetes, researchers say

Researchers announced Tuesday a major breakthrough in the search for a cure of Type 1 diabetes.

In a study published in Nature Cell Biology, researchers at University of California San Francisco said they have, for the first time, transformed human stem cells into mature insulin-producing cells, according to a press release.

Replacing these insulin-producing cells, which are lost in patients with Type 1 diabetes, has long been a dream of regenerative medicine, but until now, scientists didn’t know how to produce cells in a lab dish that work as they would in healthy adults.

Affecting 1.5 million people, Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic and incurable condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, according to Mayo Clinic. Different factors, including genetics and some viruses, may contribute to Type 1 diabetes. Over time, Type 1 diabetes complications can affect major organs in your body, including heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Maintaining a normal blood sugar levels — common treatments include regular insulin injections — can dramatically reduce the risk of many complications.

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