Vertex Pharmaceuticals announced Tuesday that it plans to acquire an ambitious startup for $950 million, betting the company’s early-stage science could lead to a functional cure for type 1 diabetes.

The Boston company is buying Semma Therapeutics, a nearby firm turning stem cells into insulin factories. Based on the work of Harvard University stem cell scientist Douglas Melton, Semma’s approach involves turning moldable stem cells into beta cells, the insulin-producing machinery that is mistakenly attacked by the immune system in type 1 diabetes.

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  • It would be wonderful if a cure is found for type 1 diabetes. Since this desease attacks primarily children. Although, my daughter was diagnosed at 21. This diagnosis has not only affected my daughter, but it devastated our whole family. Please keep working on this, it would safe the lives of so many children suffering from this horrible disease. Thank you for for working on a type 1 diabetes cure.

    Miriam Brenn

  • I can appreciate Dr. Melton’s work, that of lab grown islet cells. However, the idea of either micro or macro encapsulating these cells will never work. This has been tried ad nauseam for over 30 years now. Off the top of my head I can think of 7 companies that have tried and failed at encapsulating islet cells. Viacyte is another company that is currently attempting this and failing. Enough with this idea that you can put islet cells in a closed environment and expect them to work and that the immune response will not wall them off.

    • I feel like it’s not necessarily failing but more than likely a “how can we make money.” I feel like that’s the primary concern on everyone’s minds when they are on the edge of a breakthrough.

  • This is what I’ve been wishing for since I was diagnosed in 1969 and I would love to help make this dream come true for all T1Diabetics! Please contact me when you need a human test subject or if I can help in any way!

  • Getting ready to start year #35 with T1D. Would be more than willing to come up to Boston to be a human guinea pig so others never have to experience this disease for multiple decades.

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