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