The cure for Type 1 diabetes is a step closer.
Johnson & Johnson working with a biotech company, ViaCyte, has produced the first stem cell treatment.
This revolutionary treatment could do away with the need for constant blood sugar testing and insulin injections,
It is reported to be the first such medicine.
Mice, which were previously tested, fared well.
The therapy involves putting embryonic stem cells in a lab dish and turning them into insulin-producing cells. Those cells are then put into a capsule that is implanted under the skin.
The capsule protects the new cells or the immune system would attack them. So far, small groups of patients who began being tested a year ago, were doing well, it was reported Thursday.
After three months, the capsule did what it was supposed to — glommed onto nearby blood vessels and insulin was being produced. There were no adverse side effects.
Another round of a dozen patients will be the next to test this.
Type 1 diabetes, once called juvenile diabetes, is usually found in children and young adults. Only 5% of those who have diabetes have Type 1.
Those with Type 1 do not produce insulin, the hormone needed to break down sugars and starches into glucose. The body needs glucose for energy. People who have Type 1 diabetes must constantly monitor their blood sugar levels.
Some 29 million Americans have diabetes and of those, 1.25 million have type 1.
Johnson & Johnson has been working toward a cure for years. The company and the American Diabetes Association were contacted for comment and have not yet responded.