BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Health  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Medical notes
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 23:09 GMT 00:09 UK
Pig cells 'could aid diabetics'
Insulin injection
Millions need daily insulin injections
Cells from pigs could help transform the lives of people with insulin-dependent diabetes, according to scientists.

Researchers in the United States believe transplanting insulin-producing cells from pigs into humans could eliminate the need for daily insulin injections for millions with type 1 diabetes.

They told delegates at the XIX International Congress of The Transplantation Society in Miami that early results of trials had been promising.


Whether these results can be duplicated by another center remains to be seen

Dr Camillo Ricordi, co-chair of conference
The conference has also heard of a major improvement in transplanting insulin-producing cells between humans, with more and more people now off insulin.

Dr Rafael Valdes from the Children's Hospital of Mexico and colleagues from the University of Ontario transplanted pig cells into 12 children. None of the children received anti-rejection drugs.

More research

Nevertheless, some of the children have shown great progress.

One child no longer needs daily insulin injections. Another child was off insulin for six months and now requires 75% less insulin than before the transplant.

A further six patients have also shown signs of improvement.

The researchers said the pig cells did not trigger the normal immune system response in the patients.

However, they warned that further research is needed.

Dr Camillo Ricordi of the University of Miami and co-chair of the conference said: "Whether these results can be duplicated by another centre remains to be seen.

"The scientific community at large may be sceptical until more data is available and more patients are studied."

The conference also heard that four out of five patients who have had human pancreatic islet cell transplants no longer need insulin injections.

The figure is seen as a major breakthrough in the treatment of people with the condition.

Previous attempts to transplant insulin-producing cells have proved disappointing.

But doctors believe they have now turned the corner and that these latest results could pave the way for pancreatic islet cell transplants to become more widely available.

Figures presented at the conference show 28 of the 35 patients who receive islet transplants last year were off insulin 12 months later.

The 80% success rate compares to a just 11 % before 1997 and 14% before 2000.

In pancreatic islet transplantation, cells are taken from a donor pancreas and transferred into another person.

Once implanted, the new islets begin to make and release insulin.

Researchers hope that islet transplantation will help people with type 1 diabetes live without daily injections of insulin.

See also:

17 Jul 02 | Health
20 Feb 02 | England
17 Jun 01 | Health
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes