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Pig islet cells could eventually provide a REAL cure for diabetes

By January 26, 2012

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Pigs being raised in germ-free pens in Western Wisconsin may be one of our greatest hopes for an actual cure for diabetes. The University of Minnesota has teamed up with Mayo Clinic to find a cure for diabetes during this decade. They believe that these pigs may hold great promise.

Except for the last 20 years or so, insulin from pigs was routinely used in humans to help control blood glucose. Synthetic, lab-produced insulin has now replaced porcine insulin. But one of the reasons pig insulin was used is because there are remarkable genetic similarities between humans and pigs.

The goal of the project, called Spring Point Project, is to raise pigs that are housed in special pens, which are isolated from human germs. These pigs would then provide an unlimited supply of pancreatic islet cells that could be transplanted into humans. One of the biggest obstacles to islet transplants is the short supply of available human islet cells.

Transplanted porcine islet cells have already been shown to cure diabetes in animals for well over a year. They believe the same results, but enhanced, could be reproduced in humans. The germ-free environment of the pigs housing would minimize the risk of transmitting any detrimental agents to humans who might receive the islet cells.

The researchers say that injection of the pig islet cells in humans could begin within a year but it would probably takes several more years of substantive results before the FDA would grant approval of the porcine islets as an actual treatment for diabetes.

If this research eventually proved safe and effective as a cure for diabetes, but would require retransplantation of new islet cells every five years or so, would you agree to the procedure? Post your comments below.

Learn more about islet cell transplants

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Comments
January 26, 2012 at 11:39 pm
(1) Chandra Prakash from India says:

Definitely, a re-transplantation every five years is heaven compared to 5-times-a-day shots and 15 times a day of glucose monitoring. However, we need to be cautious about this. It must be tested fully and it should not require immune suppression, as it would again be a big pain. I hope there is a cure soon.

January 29, 2012 at 8:57 pm
(2) Austin says:

Man, I agree. Every 5 years would seriously be a cake walk in comparison. Let’s do some rough math. I’ve been type 1 for 23 years(since the age of 4). So, 365×5 shots a day is 1825 shots a year give or take a few. 1825×23 gives us 41,975 shots and counting in my time as a diabetic. I’ll take the 5 years any day.

February 2, 2012 at 11:34 am
(3) lungthao says:

i hope islet cell transplant will be a success and FDA would grant approval of the porcine islets as an actual treatment for diabetes ASAP, elderly people are waiting.

February 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm
(4) Martha Colon says:

YES!!! A cure for my little girl…yes!!!!

February 2, 2012 at 2:30 pm
(5) Linda says:

Let’s get going on this. I can’t wait. Hopefully the FDA won’t drag it out. WE NEED THIS NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm
(6) Richard Block says:

Having had type 1 for almost 50 years it would be fantastic to get off this regeeme of five jabs a day,Lets hope and pray that the scientists get this one going soon. Even one five years with out diabetes would be heaven.

February 2, 2012 at 10:38 pm
(7) Chandra Prakash from India says:

Its so inspiring to see so much hope and prayer from people for a cure to this menace. I hope scientists and governments understand the plight of diabetics and bring the cure out on a war footing, else it may eat up a substantial world population. When a piece of land is attacked somewhere in the world, we press all kinds of defense into action. When a universal enemy like DIABETES has, is and will be attacking us all, how the **** can we keep quiet and play poker.

February 6, 2012 at 12:19 am
(8) K.Deivamani says:

It will be marvelous. I am sixty two. I am diagnosed to be type I diabetic and taking insulin shots for the past one year. I find it to be very tiring and every day I feel sorry for the children with type I diabetes and their parents. Though it may not be feasible within my life time I pray that it becomes a reality ASAP for the benefit of future generation

February 9, 2012 at 11:13 pm
(9) Roy says:

Islet cell transplants (the Edmonton protocool) has been around for about 5 yrs but they have yet to get those cells to work for longer than 2 yrs at most & anti-rejection medication was required. If they could get these from pig to work for 5 yrs I would love to be first on the list. Lots more clinical studies need to be done.

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