JDRF-funded researchers in the US have finally succeeded in generating large quantities of fully-functioning, insulin-producing, mature pancreatic beta cells from human stem cells.
These researchers have developed a detailed procedure where they are able to turn matured human cells back into stem cells. They then reprogrammed these stem cells to develop into insulin-producing beta cells. When these created beta cells were transplanted into diabetic mice, the mice were cured of diabetes. Their blood glucose levels remained stable even after repeated testing and glucose injections.
This discovery is a major breakthrough in this field. Currently because of the scarcity of donated human pancreatic islets cells, very few people can access the ‘cure’ of islet transplantation surgery. The researchers in this study were able to easily produce hundreds of millions of functioning pancreatic islet cells, meaning that islet transplantation could become available to more people with type 1 diabetes in the future.
Read the original journal article: http://www.cell.com/cell/abstract/S0092-8674(14)01228-8