Advocates of embryonic stem cell research and the disease industry in America are convinced that using stem cells that are only derived from destroying human embryos is the way to help those with diabetes. Mean while, scientists continue to make progress with adult stem cells.

Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston say they have made a fundamental discovery that someday may help cure type 1 diabetes.

The research could allow people to grow their own insulin-producing cells for a damaged or defective pancreas. That’s because the scientists say they have engineered adult stem cells derived from human umbilical cord blood to produce insulin.

Writing in the journal Cell Proliferation, the researchers, who included a team at Britain’s University of Newcastle, say they hope to eventually produce an alternative to using controversial embryonic stem cells.

Other researchers are trying to learn how embryonic stem cells give rise to all the tissues and parts of the body, while remaining virtually immortal themselves, in the hope of eventually coaxing perhaps an ordinary skin cell to do the same.

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Last week, Geron Corp said it had transformed human embryonic stem cells into the pancreatic cells that produce insulin.

- Reuters