Skip to content

    Diabetes Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Stem Cells May Treat Diabetes

    Scientists Coax Embryonic Stem Cells to Treat Mice With a Condition Like Type 1 Diabetes
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    Feb. 21, 2008 -- Researchers report using embryonic stem cells to treat a condition like type 1 diabetes in mice.

    Stem cells are cells that can develop into other types of cells. Embryonic stem cells can develop into a wide range of cell types.

    In lab tests on mice, scientists at a San Diego company called Novocell grafted human embryonic stem cells into abdominal fat in mice. Before being implanted into the mice, those stem cells had been prepped to develop into pancreatic cells that get killed in type 1 diabetes.

    Thirty days after implantation, the embryonic stem cells had morphed into pancreatic cells. And about two months after that, those pancreatic cells were up to speed at producing insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar.

    The experiment proves the potential for embryonic stem cells to treat type 1 diabetes, note the researchers, who included Emmanuel Baetge, PhD.

    But the process isn't yet ready for use in people.

    Of the 46 grafts that Baetge's team transplanted into the mice, seven led to tumors. Scientists worldwide are working on ways to harness the potential of stem cells while minimizing health risks from stem cell treatment.

    Baetge and colleagues report their findings online in Nature Biotechnology.

    Today on WebMD

    Diabetic tools
    Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
    woman flexing muscles
    10 strength training exercises.
     
    Blood sugar test
    12 practical tips.
    Tom Hanks
    Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
     
    kenneth fujioka, md
    Video
    Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
    Article
     
    Middle aged person
    Tool
    jennie brand miller
    Video
     

    Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
    Article
    type 2 diabetes
    Slideshow
     
    food fitness planner
    Tool
    feet
    Slideshow