While we may not have our jetpacks, there are other indications that we may be living in the future. New Zealand based Living Cell Technologies has developed a new islet-cell transplant technique, which in early tests has shown a lower transplant rejection rate. While it does utilize islet cells from pigs, this particular xenotransplant (isn’t that a fun word) involves wrapping said pig islet cells in alginate (a seaweed derivative.) As a side benefit, because the islet cells are insulated from a diabetic’s immune system, the standard immunosuppressant drugs are not needed post-implantation.
While this is still in early, early test trials, the results seem promising. From New Scientist:
In Russian trials, eight people with type 1 diabetes received the treatment in June 2007, while continuing to have daily injections of insulin. After a year, six showed improved blood glucose control and were able to lower their daily dose of insulin. Two of them stopped injections entirely for eight months. One person left the trial and another showed no improvement, which LCT believes was due to problems inserting the cells into the pancreas.