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Researchers make diabetes breakthrough by manipulating inner cells in pancreas Updated: 2018-04-02 10:59:50 KST

Around five percent of Korean diabetes sufferers have type one diabetes.
It is a chronic condition in which the pancreas lacks the ability to produce insulin, the hormone that signals cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream.
Type one diabetes is caused by a lack of beta cells, one of three major cell types in the pancreas.
Producing insulin is primary role of the beta cells.
Numerous studies have been conducted in search for a cure, but efforts have been fruitless leaving patients needing insulin injections several times a day.

But a recent breakthrough could be the first step towards a cure.
An American research team succeeded in converting alpha cells in rats' pancreases into beta cells, allowing the rats to produce insulin.
They injected a modified gene into the alpha cells, prompting them to transform into beta cells.

Experts in the field say the test could allow diabetes sufferers to generate insulin from their own pancreas rather than needing injections.

"Patients with type one diabetes need at least three or four insulin injections a day. The experiment, when proven successful on the human body, will solve inconvenience and financial issues that the patients are currently dealing with."

The research team says it plans to conduct further studies on transforming pancreas cells, so that the technique could one day be used to help sufferers of type one diabetes.
Cho Sung-min, Arirang News.
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