From Buffalo, New York, USA:
Could cloning play a role in the cure for diabetes, i.e., cloning pancreas or beta cells?
At the moment no one has been able to make beta cells multiply in culture. Even if that were possible though, the cells produced would still be vulnerable to the immunological damage because their surface proteins would be identical to the recipient. The way to get around this so far has been to use allograft cells; but the success rate here has been very disappointing: until very recently only 7% of recipients became insulin independent after one year and even now, with the introduction of a technique introduced by the Germans, the success rate is just above 20%.
Considering though the immense steps forward in cell biology and molecular genetics in the last twenty years it may not be entirely fantasy to think that one day it may be possible to take a relatively undifferentiated cell like a fibroblast and restore its inherent ability to make insulin and respond to glucose levels and all the other factors which control insulin production, without making it vulnerable to the immunopathology.
In the meantime, for those who already have Type 1 Diabetes, the best road toward meticulous control is to make every use of recent advances in syringes, in insulins, in meters, in intensive control regimens and in the need for better education and support mechanisms. For those not yet diagnosed the hope is for early detection and the means of delaying or averting insulin dependance.
Original posting 10 Apr 97
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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