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Fishing for a cure for diabetes

It's been the elusive cure, one that scientists have felt they've been on the brink of breaking for the past 80 years. But for years, diabetes has remained a treatable but not yet cured disease. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of death by disease in Canada. Banting and Best are Canada's best known connection to diabetes but the Canadian connection continues. Since the historic discovery of insulin, there have been improvements and refinements. The promise of a cure for all, however, remains as yet unfulfilled, leaving many to live highly regimented and uncertain lives.

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Diabetes research moves into the strange and wonderful world of cloning. In a research laboratory in Nova Scotia, Dr. Bill Pohajdak is surrounded by tanks of fish. Working with Dr. Jim Wright, he plans to implant fish eggs with a genetically altered gene that will produce human insulin and in turn transplant that part of the fish into humans. The anticipated result: a cure for diabetes. This CBC Television report features this promising new treatment in its developmental stages.
• Human islet cells yielded from pancreatic organ donations are limited in North America. On average, a successful islet cell transplant requires the yield of two or three pancreases. The advantage to Dr. Pohajdak and Dr. Wright's experiment is the wide availability of tropical fish that could be harvested for transplants. As of 2003, the procedure was still in trials.
Medium: Television
Program: 1st Edition
Broadcast Date: April 3, 1996
Guest(s): Diane Marsh, Bill Pohajdak, Jim Wright
Reporter: Linda Kelly
Duration: 6:11

Last updated: February 14, 2012

Page consulted on November 10, 2014

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