Researchers at the University of Minnesota announced reversal of diabetes in monkeys by transplanting insulin-producing cells from pigs. This could eventually transform the lives of millions of people all over the world. If the research pans out, it could provide an endless supply of healthy cells to replace the ones that do not work in diabetics.
The latest study involved only a dozen monkeys but it showed proof of princip0le that pig cells can cure animals that are one step away from humans. If all goes well, human tests would begin in a bout three years.
In the study, diabetic monkeys were injected with pig islet cells which make insulin and survived without insulin shots for up to six months. Some eventually rejected the cell transplants but others survived for the duration of the study. It was a long awaited breakthrough for scientists who have been trying for some time to prove that cells could effectively cross species and control diabetes.