updated 10/22/2007 11:53:48 AM ET 2007-10-22T15:53:48

Scientists at Washington University have transplanted embryonic pig pancreatic cells into diabetic monkeys, which could have major implications for the treatment of diabetes in humans.

Dr. Marc Hammerman says the approach has reduced the animals' need for insulin injections and does not call for immunosuppression, which is a major problem in treating diabetes with transplantation.

Before DNA technology enabled pharmaceutical companies to manufacture human insulin in the 1980's, pig and cow insulin were routinely given to diabetic patients.

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