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Embryonic stem cells could be long term treatment for diabetes

Stem cells carry high hopes to help treat and possibly cure a myriad of diseases. However, the use of stem cells is a subject of great debate do to the fact that the best source for stem cells for use in this type of research is from human embryos.

Reuters reports that researchers from California-based Novocell Inc. recently used human embryonic stem cells to treat diabetes in mice. The stem cells were implanted into mice and were turned into “nearly” normal insulin-producing cells in the mice.

The animal trial hints at a possible long term treatment for diabetes. According to MSNBC at least 170 million people globally have diabetes with the number of afflicted expected to double by 2030. Those afflicted with one of the two types of diabetes, types 1 and 2, can’t use or create enough insulin to regulate glucose in the blood.

The researchers used embryonic stem cells from discarded embryos from fertility clinics. Batches of the stem cells were then grown by the researchers in lines in other human cells. Emmanuel Baetge, Novocell chief scientific officer says, “Our data provide the first compelling evidence that human embryonic stem cells can serve as a renewable source of functional insulin-producing cells for diabetes cell replacement therapies.”

These embryonic stem cells created by the researchers are said to be able to live virtually forever in lab dishes and produce generations of new cells. Baetge says that at first the team was able to produce hormone-producing or endocrine cells, but that each cell produced a mishmash of hormones instead of the specifically insulin producing cells they were aiming for.

The problem with growing the right cell led the researchers to implant the stem cells into a mouse where Baetge says something in the mouse directed the cells to mature properly. Baetge told MSNBC in a phone interview, “[Stem cells] are producing all the right enzymes and release insulin in response to glucose.”

Novocell says it is now looking for a large pharmaceutical company to partner with to fund further research. DailyTech reported in December 2007 that researchers had been able to create stem cells artificially and use the cells to cure sickle cell in mice.

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Thanks goodness...
By retrospooty on 2/21/2008 2:29:57 PM , Rating: 5
Now I no longer need to worry about mice being diabetic. One more thing off my worry list. =)

RE: Thanks goodness...
By mdogs444 on 2/21/2008 2:34:10 PM , Rating: 4
Now if only they can somehow engineer it into McDonalds burgers, people can get fat w/o getting diabetes!

RE: Thanks goodness...
By pnyffeler on 2/21/2008 2:54:17 PM , Rating: 4
Yeah, this whole eating healthy & jogging thing was cutting into my enjoyment of watching TV all day and stuffing myself with all the high fructose corn syrup-loaded soda and French fries I could eat...

RE: Thanks goodness...
By RShick on 2/21/2008 4:12:25 PM , Rating: 2
Not everyone with diabetes became diabetic due to poor health habits, you ignoramus! Many people with Type1 diabetes had no choice in the matter. I’d like to see you go tell a newborn with Type1 that they should have eaten better and gotten more exercise in the womb.

These types of breakthroughs give many people hope (type1 and type2 included) that they may be able to one day enjoy their daily lives without the hassle and inconvenience of checking their blood sugars and injecting themselves with needles multiple times throughout the day so that they can keep their blood sugar levels balanced and consistent. Even with all of the great insulin therapy options available, it’s still difficult to keep this disease in check and guarantee that you’re avoiding health complications in the future.

Your post is just inflammatory and only shows that you no nothing about what you’re derogatorily commenting on in the first place. Go check out the ADA’s website ( to educate yourself the tiniest bit on what diabetes is, and what causes it… then come back and piss on people’s parade!

This is great research being done, and I applaud these efforts whole-heartedly! Not only for the possibilities for diabetics, but its leverage towards other diseases as well.

RE: Thanks goodness...
By Souka on 2/21/2008 6:37:41 PM , Rating: 3
chill out RShick... and for what its worth, I'm a Type 1 diabetic and do not find this offensive, just funny.

For my family, I have a few distance cousins are type 2 but are young, fit (HS and college athlets currently), and typically eat 102yr old grandma isn't type2, nor were my other grandparents when they died in their 90's.

Anyhow... did a quick google... here's one breakdown of the two types of diabeties...

In the United States, Canada, and Europe, type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90 percent of all cases of diabetes. More than 6 percent of all people between the ages of 20 and 74 years and more than 12 percent of persons over age 40 have type 2 diabetes; these numbers continue to increase.

I'm always stoked to read such things, as it holds some great promise...but I know it'll be YEARS before I can even qualify for any study since I"m in good health. Typically any sort of such advancements will be tried on high-risk patients first (bad-health) as to reduce lawsuits and other responsibilities.

Good luck to the reasearchers... and a big "thanks a lot jerk" to the current president for cutting stem-cell and other research projects...setting many projects, diabetic included, back years...or longer.

RE: Thanks goodness...
By Sandok on 2/22/2008 4:14:23 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed with your last paragraph, stem-cells are the next step in biology and medicine. It can cure the worst diseases and we as humans somehow make it as difficult as possible to do this...


RE: Thanks goodness...
By TheDoc9 on 2/22/2008 10:49:34 AM , Rating: 2
I might be mistaken as I couldn't find any specific references, but I don't think there's a law against using these forms of stem cells for research. It's just that the government isn't funding them with tax payer money. Private funding/companies can still do these things. In any case this is fantastic news if it ever becomes an option to cure humans.

RE: Thanks goodness...
By clovell on 2/22/2008 2:30:55 PM , Rating: 2
He cut federal funding for Embryonic Stem Cell research after appointing a multidisciplinary council which published a very lengthy report that examined the research and the ethics of it - he was the first president to take a hard look at it.

ESC research has not shown nearly the promise that Adult Stem cell research has. Much of all this has been hype and politics. You may call the president a jerk for this, but I think it was a prudent decision given the reality of the situation.

RE: Thanks goodness...
By Wolfpup on 2/26/2008 4:04:45 PM , Rating: 2
No kidding. I've lost TWO relatives to diabetes. It's not funny, nor was it in any way their fault.

I hope this can lead towards a cure...

Stem cells recently found in breast milk
By dever on 2/21/2008 3:43:47 PM , Rating: 2
Currently there's been little research in other sources of stem cells. Maybe this will pique the male researchers interest in "harvesting" stem cells.

RE: Stem cells recently found in breast milk
By clovell on 2/21/2008 4:49:38 PM , Rating: 3
Good link. One thing I find strange in almost all articles I read about stem cell research is that they don't accurately portray the disparity between the progress made with adult stem cells versus that of embryonic stem cells.

It's an important distiction to make since the ethics of ESC research hinges on the definition of life - something that researchers don't really agree on.

On the one hand you have a group that wants to alleviate the suffering of others by advancing medicine and science into new fields, but has met with considerable opposition. To their credit they've managed to engineer ways to quell the concerns of the opposition by tricking adult stem cells to behave as ESCs. However, it seems that this exercise was more of a proof of concept than an actual method whereby the research could be continued in the face of ethical concerns.

On the other hand, you have a second war of 1812. Yes, let me be clear, I just went there. Supposing that their is an inherent ethical problem with this research, we are impressing people (albeit very tiny ones) into medical service, a service that ultimately ends in their death. In a sense, it's not entirely different from the British capturing US citizens on merchant ships and forcing them into service in the royal navy.

Regardless of what you think, and I'm certainly not going to offer any more opinion on the matter, you need to be able to recognize that this science involves very real ethical dilemmas. I think it's rather unfair that any ethical appeal in science is branded with the heresy of religion, and dismissed on that demerit alone.

I think that scientific progress should be guided by ethics. Doing it the other way around would lead us down some horrible roads.

If you've suffered through all this, thanks. Now you can rate me down.

RE: Stem cells recently found in breast milk
By MaulBall789 on 2/21/2008 5:18:32 PM , Rating: 2
Your point is well made. But there is yet another side to this really oddly shaped coin. Fertility clinics throughout the USA and other countries dispose of many frozen embryos every day. If even a percentage of these were simply donated (not sold, mind you) to stem cell research and eventually used to alleviate suffering in a living human being I would say that is a fair trade off. Its outright disposal helps no one, especially the embryo.

What may truly mess up your mind is if they find ESC's can cure many kinds of infertility. THEN you have a real problem.

By clovell on 2/22/2008 11:01:11 AM , Rating: 2
Great point. That's where the rubber of ethics hits the road of reality and another spectrum of gray is introduced. Definitely something to be carefully considered.

By Xenoterranos on 2/22/2008 1:36:42 PM , Rating: 2
Someone get me a magnifying glass, photoshop, and some very very tiny British admiral hats.


By eye smite on 2/21/2008 2:36:37 PM , Rating: 4
Between this research and cloning someone's pet overseas, it's getting a litle scarey out there.

RE: Hmmm
By PresidentThomasJefferson on 2/21/2008 5:20:44 PM , Rating: 2
Using human embryonic stem cells transplanted into paralyzed rats, UCIrvine Reeves medical center was able to cure paralysis in rats the news articles in Newsweek & science mags

Family Guy.
By Mitch101 on 2/21/2008 5:21:27 PM , Rating: 2
Change the picture of the Mice to Peter from Family guy.

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