University of Minnesota Diabetes Institute For Immunology and Transplantation, Minn.

My name is Bernhard Hering. I'm the scientific director of the Diabetes Institute for Immunology and Transplantation at the University of Minnesota. Type 1 diabetes is a crippling and relentless disease. It occurs in children and young adults, when the immune system mistakenly destroys all insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

The only way to cure type 1 diabetes is to replace or regenerate islets. Pancreas transplants have been shown to restore normal blood glucose control, reverse diabetes complications, improve quality of life, and increase life expectancy. Islet cell transplants, a much less invasive approach, have reversed diabetes in 90 percent of our recipients at the University of Minnesota.

To make islet transplants more vitally available, we will need to develop an unlimited supply of islet cells. Pig islets and stem cell-derived islets both hold great promise, but pig islets could provide a more short-term solution. We have recently shown long-term diabetes reversal after pig islet xenotransplantation in monkeys -- one step away from humans.


To avoid rejection with minimal or no immunosuppression, we are pursuing a novel, fundamentally different approach: we are developing (a) bioengineered, immune-privileged islet implantation site -- an islet sanctuary. Taken together, progress made in the past two years has been truly remarkable and suggests that pig islet xenotransplantation can be developed into a far-reaching cure for type 1 diabetes.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 3833648. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 3833648. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 3833648.
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: The fake baby a man was carrying as he and another woman tried to sneak into the mother and baby unit at Mercy Medical Center in Merced, Calif., hospital officials said.
Dignity Health Security/Mercy Medical Center Merced
dpa, Jens Wolf/AP Photo
PHOTO: U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston stopped a would be smuggler from bringing nearly 7 ounces of cocaine into the country in tamales, Aug. 22, 2014.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
PHOTO: Giant panda Bao Bao celebrates her first birthday at the Smithsonians National Zoo, Aug. 23, 2014.
David Galen, Smithsonians National Zoo