Patients with diabetes, like 8-year-old Ryan, lack the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Imagine if doctors could take insulin producing cells from pigs and transplant them into patients like Ryan to fix the problem.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have already done that in 12 monkeys. They say the transplanted pig cells actually reversed diabetes in the monkeys.
"We think this is very promising. We also understand a lot of research needs to be done to make this type of therapy safer," says Dr. Bernhard Hering, with the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Hering says testing in humans is probably about three years away.