By providing ailing mice with cells grown from the pancreatic tissue of genetically identical healthy animals, scientists have reversed a mouse version of diabetes, according to a new study. Their findings suggest a new route for treatment of diabetic patients.
Although tissue or organ transplants would seem to present an ideal weapon against diabetes, this approach had been disappointing. Transplants of pancreatic tissue had poor success rates in people, says study coauthor Ammon B. Peck of the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville.
If transplant surgery was to succeed, the diabetes patient would be swapping a life-long regimen of insulin for immune-suppressant drugs that keep the body from rejecting the new tissues. In rare cases where patients could be weaned from immune suppressors, there would remain the nagging concern that the autoimmune onslaught that killed off the person's original insulin-producing cells could reawaken and destroy the trans