It is hoped that the development of a new drug could mean that millions of people with diabetes no longer have to inject themselves with insulin each day.
Researchers at Harvard University have discovered that the hormone betatrophin can boost the cells which produce insulin, reducing the need for regular injections.
"It could eventually mean that, instead of taking insulin injections three times a day, you might be able to take this hormone once a week or once a month, or in the best case, maybe once a year," researchers said in the journal Cell.
At present tests have only been conducted on lab mice, but results have shown that insulin production has increased 30-fold.
It is believed that the hormone could be available to people with diabetes within three years.
Earlier this week a study carried out at Imperial College London found that people who consume fizzy drinks each day increase their risk of being diagnosed with diabetes by 20 per cent.
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