A possible new treatment for diabetes sufferers could be on the horizon as scientists flag a promising next step.
The world-first research from Melbourne's Monash University could provide relief for millions, after researchers found a successful way to 'reprogram' damaged pancreas cells into producing insulin.
The breakthrough could potentially eliminate the need for daily insulin shots in the future.
Diabetes is a chronic illness which occurs when the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin— the hormone that regulates blood sugar.
Researchers have been able to alter stem cells from the pancreas of a Type 1 diabetes donor by using cancer drugs to 'activate' dormant cells, which were then able to produce insulin.
Dr Keith Al-Hasani from Monash's department of diabetes said while a potential treatment utilising this research is still far away, it's a step towards helping diabetics better manage the condition.
"To remake insulin in their own body in their own pancreas instead of having to take something like an insulin injection," he said.
"This is a big breakthrough because there are over 500 million people that suffer from diabetes."
He said with the escalating rate of Type 2 diabetes diagnoses world wide, finding a manageable cure is becoming more urgent.
f successful in human trials, the research could form the basis of a new treatment for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics, eliminating the need for daily insulin injections. (AP)
Scientists from Monash University have been able to alter the cells of a donor type 1 diabetic pancreas, 'reprogramming' the damaged cells to produce insulin. (Monash University)