Embryonic Pig Cell Transplants Halt Rat Diabetes

An experimental cross-species transplant to treat diabetes has passed an early test in rats with better-than-expected results, suggesting the innovative approach might halt type 1 diabetes while greatly reducing the risk of rejection. Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis set up control and experimental groups of rats with diabetes. The experimental group received embryonic pig pancreas cell transplants and antirejection drugs to prevent the rats' immune systems from destroying the transplants. The control group received only the transplants and no immune suppression drugs. To the researchers' surprise, the control group's transplants grew unmolested by the immune system, halting the rats' diabetes and changing the focus of the study to transplanting without the need for immune suppression.

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