Seaweed could hold the secret to curing diabetes.
An ingredient extracted from it is being wrapped around insulin-producing cells taken from pigs and injected into patients' bodies. The jelly-like substance, called alginate, effectively hides the pig cells from the immune system, so it does not destroy them once they are injected. This allows the animal cells to carry on producing insulin, potentially banishing the need for patients to inject themselves with the hormone up to four times a day.
Diabetes affects around 1.8million people in the UK. It develops when the pancreas, which produces insulin, packs up completely or does not make enough to help cells absorb glucose from the blood. Doctors have tried in the past to transplant whole human pancreases, but this has proved very difficult and there is a shortage of donated organs.
Instead, attention has turned to harvesting insulin-producing islet cells from healthy donors and injecting them into the patient's liver, where they start to make insulin.
Source - Daily Mail