A team of researchers has brought the end of diabetes closer to reality by announcing a new breakthrough that could lead directly to a cure and not just a treatment for the disease.
The scientists discovered a protein that activates the maturation process in vitro, overcoming this longstanding obstacle in diabetes therapy development.
“In a dish, with this one switch, it’s possible to produce a functional human beta cell that’s responding almost as well as the natural thing,” says senior author Ronald Evans of the Salk Institute. “This has been a major blockade, and overcoming it has been a major challenge
Men with type 1 diabetes may be able to grow their own insulin-producing cells from their testicular tissue, say Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) researchers who presented their findings.
Their laboratory and animal study is a proof of principle that human spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) extracted from testicular tissue can morph into insulin-secreting beta islet cells normally found in the pancreas. And the researchers say they accomplished this feat without use of any of the extra genes now employed in most labs to turn adult stem cells into a tissue of choice.
“No stem cells, adult or embryonic, have been
Hundreds of thousands of people suffer from hereditary diabetes, a condition that destroys cells in the pancreas and leaves the body unable to regulate blood sugar levels.
Sufferers are forced to inject themselves with insulin everyday and adopt special diets to cope with the irreversible condition.
But now scientists claim a cure could be developed after cells in the liver were converted to insulin producers in research on mice.
They believe the process, described in the journal Developmental Cell, could one day lead to a permanent one-off cure for the disease.
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