Scientists may be one step closer to finding a cure for diabetes with the help of a stem cell technique that can make insulin-producing cells from skin cells. Researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway have transformed skin puncture cells from diabetes patients into insulin-producing cells.
Their aim is to transplant these cells under the skin of people with diabetes. "This study is a step towards discovering how "stand-in" cells can secrete insulin in the body," said Helge Rader, a professor at University of Bergen. The researchers' goal is to replace insulin shots and blood sugar measurements with insulin-secreting cells capable of automatically secreting insulin in response to the blood-sugar level.
This can become possible by implanting a capsule with tailor made cells in each diabetes patient. "Our study is a step further in the spare part or regenerative medicine, where a lot may go wrong but where a successful approach may cure diabetes," Rader said.
There is an ongoing race between scientists trying to restore insulin secretion within the human body in diabetes patients, by artificially created insulin-producing cells. "There is a big market out there for those who can commercialize successful treatment with this approach. Today400 million people have diabetes worldwide," Rader added.