Stem Cells Of Type 1 Diabetes Patients Transformed Into Insulin-Secreting Beta Cells; Research May Lead To New Therapy
For those living with Type 1 diabetes, the condition is a part of daily life. Insulin shots, blood sugar monitoring, and carb counting become routine, and patients expect them to stay so for the rest of their lives. This form of diabetes currently has no cure, something researchers have been diligently trying to change. The most recent attempt to take down diabetes comes from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Harvard University, who have managed to change stem cells derived from diabetes patients into insulin–secreting cells.
Patients with Type 1 diabetes lack the ability to create their own insulin, meaning they rely on regular injections of the hormone to control blood sugar. The study hints at a possible new therapy for patients that relies on a personalized approach — using the patients’ own cells to create new ones capable of manufacturing the insulin they need. The research, published in Nature Communications, details new cells that produce insulin when they encounter sugar in both culture and mouse trials.
“In theory, if we could replace the damaged cells in these individuals with new pancreatic beta cells — whose primary function is to store and release insulin to control blood glucose — patients with type 1 diabetes wouldn’t need insulin shots anymore,” said Dr. Jeffery R. Millman, an assistant professor of medicine and biomedical engineering at Washington university and first author of the study, in a press release. “The cells we manufactured sense the presence of glucose and secrete insulin in response. And Continue reading