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While type-2 diabetes is largely preventable, type-1 diabetes is a disruptive autoimmune disorder that was once thought incurable. ‘Once’ is the keyword here, as a new and uncontroversial form of stem cell treatment should be able to cure the disease once and for all. Relying on transforming a small piece of adult skin tissue into beta-cells in the pancreas — the ones which produce the insulin hormone illusive in diabetics — the treatment bypasses the genetic mutation that causes the immune system to attack these cells which creates the disease. Diabetes, especially type-1, severely limits quality of life, and if not carefully managed can result in serious complications like foot amputations and early mortality. Furthermore, it costs the U.S. medical care industry around $85,000 per patient per lifetime’s worth of treatment — an enormous burden that if lifted could save the entire sector hundreds of millions. Before stem cells were used, patients could receive transplanted islet cells from donors with a totally functioning insulin system, but low donor rates made this treatment a slow burner, even though it was successful.

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