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A Cure for Diabetes…?

It’s all over the news!

Daniel G. Anderson, an MIT researcher, has led a team of experts from MIT, Harvard, and a group of other notable institutions one step farther down the road toward a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

2016 01 27 Diabetes Type 1 Nature CoverType 1 diabetes attacks the pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin. The research team has known how produce these cells since 2014, but the recent announcement in journal Nature describes how they prevented these implanted cells from provoking an immune response.

One significant breakthrough was an algae-based coating for the implanted cells, which apparently allowed them to fend off the body’s attacks. The beta cells, thus shielded, were able to produce insulin for the entire 174-day study period without the need for daily insulin injections. If the treatment is eventually approved it’s likely to require only a booster injection of beta cells every few years.

This is great news for Type 1 sufferers, and a few Type 2 sufferers who may benefit if they eventually come to require injectable insulin. But until there’s a similar breakthrough for Type 2 patients we’ll have to continue with currently available treatments, including peer support.

Oh – the article’s title? Long-term glycemic control using polymer-encapsulated human stem cell–derived beta cells in immune-competent mice.

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