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Science Breakthroughs of 2014: Beta Cells

December 31, 2014

2014 Science Breakthroughs of the Year: Fighting diabetes with stem cells.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Stem cells that fight diabetes. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

This week, we are counting down the Science Breakthroughs of the Year, according to the editors of Science magazine. Today, turning stem cells into beta cells. Science deputy news editor Robert Koontz explains that beta cells make insulin in the pancreas, and when beta cells die or malfunction, people develop diabetes.

ROBERT KOONTZ (Science magazine):

Scientists have been trying for a long time to make replacement beta cells. They figure if you could find a way for the body to make new ones, or to create new ones that you could place in the body in some way, then you might actually be able to fix what’s wrong in people who have diabetes. This year, two new recipes for doing that were published.

HIRSHON:

Over eight percent of the world’s population now hás diabetes, resulting in several million deaths per year. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.