A Russian woman injected with pig cells four weeks ago has not needed the regular insulin injections she had relied on to keep her type 1 diabetes in check. A second patient, a Russian medical student, has seen his insulin injections cut by 40 per cent in the four months since receiving the pig cell transplant. Melbourne scientists have been conducting the trial in Moscow's SklifasovskyHospital because animal-to-human transplants have been banned in Australia until 2009. Living Cell Technologies medical director Prof Bob Elliott said the early trial results were stunning. "These early-stage results have exceeded our expectations," Prof Elliott said. "Both patients are doing very well, and we hope to continue to see such positive results as the trial progresses." The middle-aged woman and young student are the first of six Russians to be implanted with DiabeCell, made from neonatal pig islet cells collected from the pancreas of disease-free pigs bred on a remote New Zealand island. Cells are then put in coated capsules and injected into the abdominal cavity of the type 1 diabetes patients. The pig cells are intended to produce insulin, mimicking a healthy body's natural production of the hormone that controls blood glucose levels. Pig cell treatments have been tested before, but Prof Elliott's 12-month trial is the first to use the cells without the need for drugs to stop the human body rejecting them. About 520,000 Australians have been diagnosed with diabetes, but just as many don't realize they have the disease. Type 1 diabetes, in which the pancreas does not produce insulin, accounts for 10 to 15 per cent of all cases. It is usually diagnosed in childhood or early adulthood. Current treatment centres on daily insulin injections and regular tests to check blood glucose levels.