Pig Cell Cures Type 1 Diabetes
In New Zealand and Europe there are more than 12 people who underwent pig cells transplant into their bodies to control diabetes.
So far, two patients have been able to stop using insulin and is now being considered for development in Australia.
Michael Helyer (54) has suffered from type 1 diabetes since he was a boy. But about 14 years ago, he became the first man in the world to perform pig cells transplant into his pancreas. These cells have been designed to mimic the natural production of insulin in the body.
“This is the best result, the cells now have managed to produce 30 percent of cells from the whole cell that I need. If you can reduce insulin dose by 30 percent, then your chances for having a bad sugar levels will be much reduced,” said Michael Helyer, as quoted from ABC.net.au, Wednesday (7/4/2010).
These cells continue to work within the body of Michael Helyer for nine years. As the first person to be tested, the number of transplanted cells is still very small. But on some new patients, the amount that had been transplanted is increased so the patients have been able to stop using insulin.
Type 1 diabetes have attacked nearly about 30 million people around the world. Professor Bob Elliott, a researcher of Living Cell Technologies and his team hopes that it can be truly beneficial and can be a cure for type 1 diabetics.
Nevertheless there were some concerns that this treatment can result in transmission of certain viruses from pigs to humans. therefor some countries still prohibit this pig cell transplant treatment.
“The important thing is a pig must be free from disease and can be transferred to humans. Therefore only the pigs that are free from all forms of infection that could be transplanted into humans,” said Prof Elliott.
Currently, only pigs that lives in a sub-Antarctic island that has lived since around 200 years ago and free from all forms of infection used in the trials. The pigs were placed in a facility that can keep it pure, free of infection and disease germ-free status.