London, Aug 10: Scientists are a step closer to finding a cure for diabetes, after they successfully created insulin-producing cells from skin using stem cell techniques.
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, 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 commercialise successful treatment with this approach. Today 400 million people have diabetes worldwide," Rader added.