For Doug Melton, a researcher at Harvard University, his work with stem cell research has been fueled by his personal life—he has a son and daughter who both have type 1 diabetes. What Melton and his team have been trying to figure out, then, is whether human stem cells can produce insulin, essentially curing diabetes in the process.
The answer: probably.
The uncertainty in that answer comes from the fact that there just hasn’t been enough testing done to guarantee that, yes, diabetes will be cured with this treatment. That said, after dedicating fifteen years of his work to advancing this research, Melton and his team recently experienced what they believe to be their biggest breakthrough.
In a paper that will soon be published by the journal, Cell, Melton reports that not only were they able to rid mice of their diabetes within ten days, but that, in time, they could possess the ability to make hundreds of millions of cells that can both read the amount of sugar in the blood AND secrete the amount of insulin needed. This means that, instead of keeping diabetes at bay with external insulin applications (oral, injection), we can actually attack the disease, something many of us have been wishing we could do for some time.
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