Auckland-based Living Cell Technologies, which is pioneering a world-first treatment for type 1 diabetes using insulin-producing cells grown in pigs, has been approved for sale in Russia. Professor Bob Elliott, who heads the Auckland laboratory, said two hospitals in Russia could begin offering the treatment next year once their training was complete. Elliott’s Diabecell treatment is the world’s first xenotransplantation (animal to human) treatment approved for sale by a major industrialised country. The therapy would initially cost around $15, per patient, but “that will go down as we get an economy of scale”, Elliot said, adding that the treatment “makes a huge difference” to managing the condition. Living Cell Technologies CEO Ross McDonald said they hope to have Diabecell on sale in New Zealand and some other jurisdictions such as the US, by 213.