New Procedure Gives Hope to Diabetics

UK treatment ends insulin dependency for type 1 sufferers
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2007 5:55 PM CDT
Diabetes sufferer Lee Ann Thill, 34, looks at her insulin pump after using her glucose meter to check her blood sugar at her home in Magnolia, N.J., Monday June 11, 2007. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Car crashes, comas, sudden stabbings, divorces – all are being indirectly diminished as Britain spearheads a new procedure to help sufferers of type 1 diabetes. Victims of the growing disorder are often subject to fits and blackouts as they scramble for insulin, but a new operation is offering hope: already a dozen Britons are infused with cells to eliminate insulin dependency entirely.

The procedure takes an hour and a local anesthetic and “could ultimately replace insulin in the next 10-15 years," a diabetes expert says. Such a breakthrough would revolutionize life for millions, as pollution, dietary changes and other factors increase diabetes cases worldwide. The Guardian reports that the new procedure has worked on 75 percent of test patients so far.