Transplants offer possible new cure for diabetes

Taking precursors of the pancreas of embryonic pigs and transplanting them into rats was an effective way to get them to start producing insulin without triggering a response from the immune system, according to researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. As a result, they were able to cure not only type 1 but type 2 diabetes in the animal models. Their work points to a possible therapy for type 2 diabetes that won't require powerful immune suppressant drugs that are needed to protect transplants.

"Finding that we can cure type 2 diabetes in the same way is very significant because in humans type 2 diabetes is almost 20 times more prevalent than type 1 diabetes," says senior author Marc R. Hammerman, M.D., the Chromalloy Professor of Renal Diseases in Medicine. "There are about 200 million type 2 diabetics worldwide, and the incidence is rapidly increasing."

- read this St. Louis Post-Dispatch article on diabetes research