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Wed 11 Apr 2007 02:22 PM

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Stem cells help fight diabetes

New research could offer hope to the high number of sufferers in the GCC.

A new medical study suggests that genetic Type 1 diabetes could one day be prevented or reversed thanks to stem cell transplants, a Guardian report today said.

The UK newspaper reports that scientists using stem cell transplants have been successful in making a small group of diabetes patients evade their dependence on insulin injections.

Type 1 diabetes is usually caused by the body's own immune system destroying the cells that produce insulin, so patients need daily injections of the hormone instead.

The study was small - examining only 15 young diabetes patients - but revealed high hope for diabetics.

The research could be valuable in the GCC: the region is among the worst in the world for diabetes.

According to The International Diabetes Federation in 2003, the top five countries with the highest percentage of adults with the disease were: Nauru (30.2%), United Arab Emirates (20.1%), Qatar (16%), Bahrain (14.9%), and Kuwait (12.8%).

Factors behind the disorder are obesity and genetic predisposition, both rife in the Middle East.

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