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Grow Insulin-Producing Cells Right Under Your Skin

Researchers have found a novel place to load your body with the cells needed to produce lifesaving insulin for blood-sugar regulation in Type 1 diabetics — right under your skin.

In people with Type 1 diabetes, insulin-making cells, located in the pancreas, are damaged and left dysfunctional. Replacing these damaged cells seems a no brainer, as healthy new cells can restore insulin function, but it’s hard to get them in the right place.

But University of Toronto’s Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) researchers have demonstrated that the space under the skin might be an optimal location for these healthy cells.

“The accessible location of the skin makes . . . transplantation a lot more manageable, especially if the patient responds negatively to the donor cells,” said Alexander Vlahos, the lead author of the study. “The space under the skin has a large area so that it can support many islets [which contain the pancreatic cells], necessary for this approach.”

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