Doctors believe they may have found a cure for diabetes, ending the misery of daily insulin injections for millions of sufferers.
They have not only managed to halt the disease in mice but also reversed it.
Human trials will start shortly and, if they are successful, relief could be in sight for 350,000 sufferers in Britain and 194million worldwide.
It could also lift a huge burden from the NHS – experts say treating the disease will account for a fifth of all health service spending by 2010.
The breakthrough was made by American researchers who injected diabetic mice with spleen cells from healthy animals.
Apart from halting the disease, the treatment rebuilt the pancreas, a process which doctors previously thought impossible.
Dr Eleanor Kennedy, research director at Diabetes UK, said: ‘The initial results are potentially very exciting.
‘But this research is in the very early stages and a lot more work still needs to be done.’
At this stage, the research has focused on Type-1 diabetes, which usually affects children and young adults.
Sufferers do not produce enough insulin, the hormone which helps break down glucose, and without regular injections they would die.
Type-2, the most common form, usually occurs in people who are over 45 and overweight. With up to a quarter of people now classified as obese, experts have warned the disease is reaching epidemic proportions.
Originally published by STEPHEN HULL at Mail Online
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