Healthcare company Johnson & Johnson and biotech company Viacyte have begun testing out a new stem cell treatment on a small group of Type 1 diabetes patients.
According to a report from the Los Angeles Daily News, the two companies have been successful with the treatment on animals and now have begun to test on patients to see if they experience the same results.
The treatment works by first inducing embryonic stem cells in a lab dish and turning them into insulin- producing cells. These cells are then put into a capsule before being implanted beneath the skin. The capsule protects these cells from the immune system that would consider them a threat, which has been a problem that other research projects have experienced in the past.
Thousands of mice were given the capsule and scientists saw that these insulin cells matured and produced more. Testing on human patients began a year ago and scientists are closely monitoring them for two years to see how it will turn out.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 1.25 million American children and adults suffer from Type 1 diabetes, which is when your body does not produce any insulin at all. This disease can cause other health problems to arise, such as kidney disease and high blood pressure.
If successful, the treatment will still have to go through additional testing before it can be approved by regulators.