Novo Nordisk and Stem Cell Research
Danish company Novo Nordisk has long been a giant in the world of diabetes medication. But according to CEO Lars Rebien Sorensen, the coming years may mean a shift in the Novo paradigm.
Stem Cell Studies
Sorensen claims that the company will begin clinical trials in the next five years on stem cell research they've been toiling with. The hope is that stem cells will be able to replace damaged beta cells in the pancreas, effectively curing type 1 diabetes. Novo's announcement follows a year of major victories for the company's science department. Through their research, they've successfully cured type 1 diabetes in lab mice using embryonic stem cells.
Of course, there is still a ways to go before Novo or any other research group, can claim to have a cure for type 1 diabetes. While stem cells have proven to be effective on mice, there are still five to 10 years of clinical trials before this procedure can be considered safe for humans.
Any stem cells transplanted into a human body will be subject to assault by the person's immune system, and scientists will have to do extensive research to determine if the transplant will do more harm than good. Novo is currently working on technology that may protect the cells during transplant, but declined to share this in their interview with Bloomberg.
Funding for a Cure
Though the far-off time frame can be disheartening for patients living with diabetes, this hasn't stopped people across the business and science worlds from do what they can to help.
In fact, entrepreneur Sean Parker recently donated $10 million to the University of California at San Francisco and their efforts to find a cure for type 1 diabetes. Drug company AstraZeneca Plc is working with Harvard University to find a cure, and laboratory ViaCyte, Inc. is joining Novo in a separate endeavor to find an effective way to use stem cells.
With all these great minds coming together to end type 1, it just might be a possibility in the coming years.