Researchers at London's Imperial College revealed that they have managed to engineer blood stem cells into insulin secreting cells, a breakthrough which could free diabetics from taking daily dose of insulin injections.
Researchers believe the new technique will make it possible to treat diabetic patients with an annual injection of insulin.
The lead author, Professor Nagy Habib, and scientists at Hammersmith Hospital are now planning human trials of the new treatment after success in laboratory studies.
Dr Paul Mintz, a leading stem cell researcher at Imperial College, who is part of the team pioneering the research, told the publication that the beauty of this treatment is that they manipulate the patient's own stem cells, avoiding the complication of giving them something foreign which their body will reject.
The researchers have been able to get 35 per cent of engineered cells to make insulin in laboratory studies, but they are now planning to grow these cells so that they have a colony of 100 per cent insulin-making cells that can be injected into a patient's body.
The study was published in Journal of Molecular Therapy Nucleic Acids last week.