How human cloning could cure diabetes

"From the start, the goal of this work has been to make patient-specific stem cells from an adult human subject with type 1 diabetes that can give rise to the cells lost in the disease.

Patients with type 1 diabetes lack insulin-producing beta cells, resulting in insulin deficiency and high blood-sugar levels.

Because the stem cells are made using a patient's own skin cells, the engineered cells for replacement therapy would matching the patient's DNA and so would not be rejected.

It is hoped that in future the stem cell therapy could be used for a wide range of conditions including Parkinson's disease, macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis, and liver diseases and for replacing or repairing damaged bones.

"I am thrilled to say we have accomplished our goal of creating patient-specific stem cells from diabetic patients using somatic cell nuclear transfer," said Susan Solomon, CEO and co-founder of NYSCF whose own son is Type-1 diabetic.

"Seeing today's results gives me hope that we will one day have a cure for this debilitating disease.

The technique works by removing the nucleus from an adult oocyte an early stage egg - and replacing it with the nucleus of a healthy infant skin cell.

An electric shock causes the cells to begin dividing until they form a blastocyst a small ball of a few hundred cells which can be harvested.

Dr. Rudolph Leibel, a co-author and co-director with Dr. Robin Goland of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, where aspects of these studies were conducted, said: The resulting technical and scientific insights bring closer the promise of cell replacement for a wide range of human disease."

In 2011, the team reported creating the first embryonic cell line from human skin using nuclear transfer when they made stem cells and insulin-producing beta cells from patients with type 1 diabetes.

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How human cloning could cure diabetes

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