Could This Be A Potential Breakthrough For Type 1 Diabetes?

| August 30, 2016

The search for a solution for type 1 diabetes has been going on for many years. In this form of diabetes, the immune system’s T-cells mistakenly attack the insulin-producing beta-cells in the pancreas, so that the sufferer is unable to produce sufficient insulin and needs to rely instead on injected insulin medication for blood sugar control.

I have reported in earlier posts here, here and here on some of the lines of research scientists have been following in their attempts to overcome this chronic condition. Now, new technologies developed by the University of Sydney, Australia, and American biotechnology firm PharmaCyte Biotech, could be close to coming up with an ingenious solution.

The researchers at University of Sydney have developed a line of genetically-engineered human liver cells – called “Melligan cells” – that can produce, store, and release insulin according to the levels of glucose in the blood. In other words, they function just like pancreatic beta-cells do in a healthy person; but because they aren’t beta-cells they don’t trigger the type 1 autoimmune response. Last year, the research team was able to successfully help reverse type I diabetes in mice, by transplanting Melligan cells into them.1

So far, so good, but there is still one big hurdle. The mice they used in this study were immunocompromised, meaning they didn’t have any immune response. In the human body, the Melligan cells would certainly be recognised as invaders and would get attacked by the immune system, just like any other transplant of “foreign” tissue.

This is where PharmaCyte Biotech come in. They have developed a product called “Cell-In-A-Box” that, in theory, could encapsulate Melligan cells and hide them from the immune system, so they are not attacked. If this turns out to be successful, it would allow Melligan cells to be transplanted into human type 1 diabetes patients, without the need for them to take immunosuppressant drugs.

PharmaCyte has been granted a US patent for this potential method of helping type 1 diabetes, but of course, years of product development and testing lie ahead before it could become a reality. In the meantime, my next blog post provides a roundup of natural ways for people with type 1 diabetes to help maximise their pancreatic function and potentially minimise their reliance on injected insulin.

Here’s to healthy living,

Martin Hum PhD DHD
for Real Diabetes Truth

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Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone’s personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


1. Lawandi J, Tao C, Ren B et al. Reversal of diabetes following transplantation of an insulin-secreting human liver cell line: Melligen cells. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2015; 2:15011.

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Category: Type 1 Diabetes

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