Scientists believe they have made a major advance in the quest to find an effective treatment for type 1 diabetes.
Using human embryonic stem cells as a starting point, they have for the first time been able to create human insulin-producing beta cells equivalent in almost every way to normally functioning beta cells in the kind of large quantities needed for cell transplantation and pharmaceutical purposes.
Doug Melton, Xander University Professor at Harvard University, who led the work, said he hopes to have human transplantation trials using the cells under way within a few years.
The stem cell-derived beta cells are currently undergoing trials in animal models, including non-human primates.
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