Positive results from artificial cell insulin release therapy
Artificial cells which release insulin have successfully been placed under the skin and worked for the first time.
If the cell-based treatment gets approval from clinical trials then it might end up replacing daily insulin injections, researchers said.
The therapy has been tested on mice and during the study the animals blood sugar levels measured normal after three weeks of receiving the treatment.
The team from the ETH university in Basel have developed a capsule made up of genetically engineered cells which is placed under the skin and automatically releases insulin when required and measures the glucose concentration in the blood.
A clinical trial licence is now needed so the technology can be tested on humans.
Martin Fussenegger, who led the research, said: “By 2040, every tenth human on the planet will suffer from some kind of diabetes, that’s dramatic. We should be able to do a lot better than people measuring their glucose.”
Mr Fussenegger said that if the treatment is approved for use in humans the implant, which only needs to be replaced three time a year, could replace injections.
The findings of the study have been published in the Science journal.
Previous research has seen teams using patients’ stem cells in order to create pancreatic cells, but the cells were prone to dying off once put into the body.
Mr Fussenegger’s team re-engineered human kidney cells (HEK) in a bid to replicate the function of the pancreas.
These cells out performed normal pancreatic cells during the study as they successfully managed to regulate blood sugar in the mice used.