Pig cell jabs may help fight diabetes

October 21st, 2008 - 2:36 pm ICT by ANI  

Perth, Oct 21 (ANI): A New Zealand biotech firm has been given the go-ahead to inject pig cells into humans as part of a trial to tackle diabetes.

New Zealand Health Minister David Cunliffe has given green light to the ASX-listed Living Cell Technologies to conduct the two-year controversial trial.

“It is extremely exciting for lots of people, especially the diabetics, because it gives them new hope,” Perth Now quoted company founder David Collinson, as saying.

He said the 2 million dollars would kick off at Auckland’’s Middlemore Hospital with eight patients in Feb 2009.

Collinson hopes that by 2010, drugs used in the trial would be made available in some parts of the world.

As part of the process the company uses, pig cells coated in a type of purified seaweed are injected into diabetes patients to stimulate insulin production.

“We put special coatings around the outside of the cells and that seems to stop the immune system from seeing them,” Collinson said.

“Once they have one of these implants, which is a very simple procedure, it seems to take away the wild swings (in insulin production) and helps the management.

“The fear of a diabetic is that they don”t know what is going to happen tomorrow. This takes away that fear,” he said.

The company also had a trial underway in Russia, which had produced promising results, he said. (ANI)

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