Animal research and diabetes

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Research on dogs led to the discovery of insulin and the death sentence that until then was associated with diabetes was lifted. Now research with mice is looking for the best way to transplant insulin producing cells from donor to diabetic recipient.

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We interviewed Chloe Rackham who has diabetes and Dr Aileen King of Kings College London for this video. Aileen is looking at ways to encapsulate insulin producing cells (found within islets in the pancreas) to protect them from rejection so they can survive being transplanted. She is working with mice. Islet transplants have been done in people but recipients currently need to take immune-suppressing medicines to prevent rejection. These have serious side-effects, currently limiting transplantation. There is also a shortage of suitable donor material so Aileen is also looking at strategies that use less transplanted material.