Diabetes type 1 patients may benefit from a transplant with pigs cells in order to better control their illness.
Patients with diabetes type 1 have a deficiency of the hormone insulin and thus cannot control their own blood sugar levels. At present, this deficiency is controlled through administering insulin injections. Through transplantation with pig cells producing insulin, these patients may be able to control their insulin levels more efficiently.
In Moscow, four patients were already treated with pig cells. Meanwhile the patients have shown a 20% reduction in their requirements for insulin than before the transplantation. One of the patients require almost 40% less insulin.
A risk that pig infections will be transmitted to the patient does exist. However, the risk is small and the amount of pig cells producing insulin available is a good argument to pursue this treatment.