Researchers at MIT and Harvard figured out how to produce pancreatic beta cells -- the ones that produce insulin -- in large quantities back in 2014. The same intercollegiate team announced in the journal Nature on Monday that they've now managed to implant those cells into mice that have been genetically designed to suffer from Type 1 diabetes -- without the cells being rejected. Even more impressive, the diabetic mice produced their own insulin during the 174-day study period, eliminating the need for daily injections. Instead, patients would simply need "booster" injections of beta cells once every few years.
This method "has the potential to provide diabetics with a new pancreas that is protected from the immune system," study co-author Daniel Anderson said in a statement, "which would allow them to control their blood sugar without taking drugs." Human trials are expected to begin within the next few years.
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