In what may be a step toward curing diabetes, researchers report successfully transplanting insulin-producing cells between unrelated mice by tricking the immune system into accepting the foreign tissue.
Dr. Aldo A. Rossini, director of diabetes care at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, Mass., said the technique showed insulin-producing pancreatic islets could be transplanted without using anti-rejection drugs, which carry the risk of serious side effects.
A report on the study will be published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Rossini said the transplant technique involves shots of white blood cells, made from the donor mice, and injections of a substance called anti-CD40L. Together, these shots train the immune system of the receiving mouse to tolerate the transplanted pancreatic islets.