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From Aledo, Illinois, USA:

If we were to start to clone people with diabetes would we be able to use the clone's pancreas if it worked before the individual got diabetes in real life so the person would not have the disease?


Your question is a theoretical one because no one has yet been allowed to try to clone people. In any case, a theoretical answer would depend on the type of diabetes. If what you were proposing was to transplant a clone's pancreas into a person with type 1A (autoimmune) diabetes, the most common form in childhood, it would almost certainly not work because the host's destructive white blood cells would still be active. This experiment has in fact been done when attempts were made to transplant part of the pancreas from an identical twin, and it did not work.


Additional comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:

Good idea but wouldn't work because the body would attack the beta cells from the cloned pancreas. If we could clone beta cells (or get them from an animal, or stem cells or donor pancreas/beta cells), we would have to figure out a way to mask the beta cells so the body does not reject them. Now, we have to give medications to trick the body into accepting them, and this is difficult work and sometimes causes other problems from tricking the immune system. However, research goes on, and hopefully we will figure all this out in a safe fashion.


Original posting 12 Dec 2000
Posted to Research: Cure


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:18
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