Implanting pancreatic cells in your gut could cure diabetes

ENGADGET | Rob Lefebvre
Getty Images/Caiaimage
About 30,000 adults and children are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) each year. As many as 1.25 million Americans have the disease, according to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, with up to 5 million expected to have the disease by 2050. T1D is an autoimmune disease where your body stops producing insulin, which can lead to a lifetime of dependence on injected or pumped insulin as well as a host of health complications. New clinical trials, however, show some promising results in "curing" the disease by implanting pancreatic islet cells to the omentum, the tissue that covers abdominal organs.

This isn't the only plan to cure T1D, of course. The FDA approved the first automated system for T1D last September, while other research teams study the possible effects stem cells and 3D printing techniques. This is the first time omentum-implanted islet cells have produced long-term insulin independence in a patient who has T1D, however. The medical team took donor islets and combined them with the patient's own blood plasma. This mixture was then layered onto the patient's omentum via a laproscopic incision. Continue reading
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