WASHINGTON, DC-Researchers in Israel announced they have created insulin in a tissue culture after coaxing and manipulating human embryonic stem cells. The discovery comes during a controversial time for stem cell research.
President Bush has yet to decide whether researchers experimenting with stem cells will be able to use federal funding. On a recent trip to Europe, the President was asked by the Pope to prohibit such experiments on moral grounds. However, there are many on the other side of the argument as well who urge the President not to turn his back on the possibilities of such research.
The Israeli researchers, who work at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, have published their work in the journal Diabetes, which is published by the American Diabetes Association. They reportedly took stem cells from embryos and transformed them into cells possessing characteristics of pancreatic cells that create insulin. Within this tissue culture could lie a painless treatment for the estimated one million Americans with Type 1 diabetes who have to give themselves daily injections of insulin.
People with diabetes are more likely to face complications from the disease such as: heart disease, stroke, amputation, blindness, and kidney failure.
Researchers will continue their work and examine different methods of placing these modified cells into a failing pancreas to see if they actually create insulin.
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