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Adult stem cells show promise for diabetes

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- While some U.S. experts downplay the utility of adult stem cells versus embryonic cells, a new study says adult stem cells fight diabetes.

Researchers from Tulane University in New Orleans say adult stem cells increase insulin production in mice with type 2 diabetes, demonstrating the potential of adult stem cells to fight the disease.

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The Tulane researchers injected human adult stem cells into mice with elevated blood sugar levels. The team then saw that, over time, the blood sugar levels in the mice which received the stem cells decreased.

Moreover, further testing showed that the stem cells had gone to each mouse's pancreas and repaired damaged insulin-producing tissues, and there was even some evidence that the stem cells were also repairing damaged kidney tissues, the researchers noted.

Although the team acknowledged that the human stem cells were effective in part because the mice were a special strain with a defective immune system, they added that use of human cells in their experiments provides a direct test for the cells that could be used in patients with diabetes.

The study is published online this week in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.

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