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Human stem cells reverse diabetes in mice

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-06-28 11:11

VANCOUVER - A new research has shown that human stem cell transplants can successfully restore insulin production and reverse diabetes in mice for the first time.

The study, conducted by scientists from University of British Columbia (UBC) and the New Jersey-based BetaLogics, a division of Janssen Research & Development, LLC, could pave the way for a breakthrough treatment for the disease.

After the stem cell transplant, the diabetic mice were weaned off insulin, a procedure designed to mimic human clinical conditions, according to the study published online Wednesday in the journal Diabetes

Three to four months later, the mice were able to maintain healthy blood sugar levels even when being fed large quantities of sugar.

"We are very excited by these findings, but additional research is needed before this approach can be tested clinically in humans," said Timothy Kieffer, one of the 13 authors and a professor from UBC.

Kieffer said that the studies were performed in diabetic mice that lacked a properly functioning immune system that would otherwise have rejected the cells.

He added that they now need to identify a suitable way of protecting the cells from immune attack so that the transplant can ultimately be performed in the absence of any immunosuppression.

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