Skip to content

    Diabetes Health Center

    Font Size

    New Therapy Might Cure Type 1 Diabetes

    WebMD News from HealthDay

    Feb. 4, 2016 -- Patient testing has started on a stem cell treatment that could offer a cure for type 1 diabetes.

    If the first-of-a-kind treatment works as well in the patients as it has in animals, it would eliminate the need for regular insulin injections and blood sugar testing, according to the Associated Press.

    In this therapy, embryonic stem cells are prompted to turn into insulin-producing cells. These are placed in a small capsule that is implanted under a patient's skin. The capsule protects the cells from the immune system, which would otherwise attack them.

    In people with type 1 diabetes, the immune system destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.

    A number of approaches are being used in an effort to find a cure for diabetes, but this is the first to be tested in patients, according to ViaCyte biotechnology company. It has teamed with Johnson & Johnson to speed development of the therapy, the AP reported.

    If the treatment proves successful in human clinical trials, it could be available in several years for type 1 diabetes patients and eventually could also help insulin-using type 2 diabetes patients.

    "This one is potentially the real deal," Dr. Tom Donner, director of the diabetes center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told the AP "It's like making a new pancreas that makes all the hormones" needed to control blood sugar."

    If the therapy can lead to normal insulin levels, "it's going to prevent millions of diabetics from getting dangerous complications," said Donner, who is not involved in the research.

    About 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, including 1.25 million with type 1 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

    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
    Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
    Middle aged person
    jennie brand miller

    Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
    type 2 diabetes
    food fitness planner