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'Major breakthrough' for diabetes cure

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Type 1 diabetes could be cured using stem cell treatments, research from Harvard University suggests.

The team of researchers has managed to mass-manufacture insulin-producing cells for the first time. The researchers used modified stem cells to create news insulin-producing beta cells, which function nearly identically to the naturally occurring cells. Previously, scientists were able to produce minute quantities of the cells, but far too few to be used in cell transplantation. The cells have been successfully implanted into mice, and are awaiting approval for human testing.

Libby Dowling, a clinical advisor at Diabetes UK, said: 'This is an amazing breakthrough. If the research is successfully replicated on humans, it would have a huge effect on the lives of the UK's 320,000 Type 1 patients. Essentially, this breakthrough could end the need for insulin. While Type 1 is a very manageable condition, insulin does not completely replicate a functioning pancreas. This research could lead to a treatment that mimics the effects of a fully-functioning pancreas.'

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