Sponsor a Pig Now, Help Insulin Cell Transplants Later

| Jan 24, 2008

Sponsor a pig and you can help a unique collaboration between Spring Point Project and the University of Minnesota to begin transplanting insulin-producing islet cells from pigs to humans within the next two years.

Minneapolis-based Spring Point Project is a non-profit organization that raises "biosecure" pigs under ultra-clean conditions. By 2010, a clinical trial conducted the University's Diabetes Institute for Immunology and Transplantation will take islet cells from the pigs and transplant them to human beings.

The hope is that the cells will begin producing insulin, essentially curing type 1 people with diabetes by restoring their bodies' ability to produce the hormone.

Until then, Spring Point Project must spend $50 per day to shelter each pig - a cost of $36,500 per pig over the next two years. That's why the organization is asking for donations under its Sponsor a Pig Program. Donors can arrange to give at levels ranging from $50 (supports a pig for one day) to $18,000 (supports a pig for one year).

Dr. Henk-Jan Schuurman, Spring Point Project's CEO, explains, "The animals must be housed in a highly specialized environment maintained by professionals who are trained in animal health care. The pigs eat special food, drink purified water and breathe filtered air."

The organization's decision to raise "medical-grade" pigs came in the wake of a discovery by Dr. Bernhard Hering, scientific director of the Diabetes Institute for Immunology & Transplantation at the University of Minnesota, who documented a medical breakthrough in the journal Nature Medicine in March 2006.

Dr. Hering's key finding was that the transplantation of islet cells, harvested from the pancreas of a pig, yields a long-term cure for diabetes in monkeys. The next step was to see if the same effect could take place in human subjects.

For more information on Spring Point Project, go to its website, www.springpointproject.org. For information on sponsoring a pig, see www.springpointproject.org/images/spt0026-PledgeForm.pdf.

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Categories: Diabetes, Diabetes, Food, Insulin, Islet & Pancreas Transplant, Support Groups, Type 1 Issues

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Posted by Anonymous on 25 January 2008

If this is such a great thing, why doesn't the NIH or JDRF sponsor it. It seems like a relatively small amount of money to cure diabetes!

Posted by Anonymous on 25 January 2008

I just want a cure, I'm tired of this disease. Please, people, help us.

Posted by Anonymous on 25 January 2008

"The animals must be housed in a highly specialized Environment maintained by professionals who are trained in animal health care, eat special food, drink purified water and breathe filtered air." Maybe if the professionals didn't have to eat special food, drink purified water, and breath filtered air, it would be cheaper to keep the pigs.

Posted by Anonymous on 28 January 2008

please check your amounts in the article.... $36,5000??

Posted by Diabetes Health Editor on 26 January 2008

Dear Anonymous, thanks for the sharp eyes! After we finished chuckling, we fixed the paragraph.

Posted by Anonymous on 29 January 2008

Verrrry interesting! The website has lots of info including NIH & JDRF support, and biographies of very qualified people. Also the advantages of this method over the artificial pancreas, over human cells, and over coated pork cells, etc.

Posted by Anonymous on 1 February 2008

Could it really be true? Only 2 more years with this torcherous disease... Where do I sign up? Even for the trial tests!

Posted by mjensentulsa on 16 February 2008

This is ludicrous. They want charitable contributions to develop porcine factories for the biotech firms that will reap billions of dollars of profit from us after they succeed? Their site even points out they are not shooting for a real cure. Their efforts are focused on "a viable solution for the tens of thousands of people with difficult to manage diabetes." Tens of thousands of people? That would exclude most of us. And the pricetag will need to be corresponding steep.

I seem to remember an old saying about a duck that might be bioengineered for this example: If it looks like a pig, waddles like a pig, and stinks like a pig...

Posted by Anonymous on 30 April 2008

You could say it's unethical to keep pigs for this purpose but you'd have to be a veggie (many apologies if you are) and as a diabetic I have to say this; Bugger off, I want my life back!!!

Posted by Anonymous on 21 August 2008

Two relatives just did this procedure done in Mexico. This is the info I received. The Doctor is a Standford Graduate and studied in Europe for Stem Cell research. The stem cell consist of youthenizing (killing) two pigs, one each and removing a stem cell underneath the pigs brain. The stem cell must be removed within 7 (seven) minutes and implanted in the patients arm. It will then re-generate the patients damaged cells including the Pancreas that controls the blood sugar balance. (correct me if I'm wrong) All this will start to happen within a week. Wow fast!

After the procedure they both have to stay indoors for 2 weeks.

Oh, don't worry about the pigs.... There was no wasted meat. My uncle in Mexico took care of that......finished butchering the pigs and cooked some of it that day.....

I'll let you know what happens after several months. Both patients will have U.S. doctor check ups and hope to have a clean bill of health.

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