Novo Nordisk Pursues Stem Cells for Future Diabetes Cure

Lauren Santye, Assistant Editor
Published Online: Monday, December 19th, 2016
Recent advances in Novo Nordisk A/S stem cell research shows promise in a potential future cure of diabetes. CEO Lars Rebien Sorensen reported that research could enter clinical trials within 5 years, according to Bloomberg.

Although Novo is now able to cure diabetic mice with embryonic stem cells that have developed into insulin-producing cells, there is still a ways to go before the process can be used in humans, according to Novo.

One challenge in transplanting stem cells into patients is that the cells will be attacked by the immune system, Bloomberg reported. Novo stated that they are collaborating with certain groups on technology to encapsulate the transplanted cells to help protect them.

Although stem cell research shows promise, it probably won’t be able to put a stop to diabetes anytime soon, Bloomberg reported. According to Novo executives, the trials may take another 5 to 10 years and the result will most likely be too expensive to yield mega-blockbusters.

Scientists hope one day to use stem cells to treat diseases; however, few therapies have been proven in recent trials.

Novo is not the only company hoping to find a cure for diabetes. Last year, Sean Parker, former president of Facebook, donated $10 million to create a research center at the University of California San Francisco in the hopes of finding a cure in 5 years. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Plc is also collaborating with the Harvard Group to find potential new treatments that could restore insulin-producing cell activity, Bloomberg reported.

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