Certain Cells May Help Diabetics
(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Most people know at least a little bit about diabetes, and with the occurrence of type-two diabetes rising in the United States, the disease could become an even more health common topic. Thankfully, awareness about diabetes is not the only thing on the rise; treatments and even possible cures are also highly sought after in the scientific and medical community.
A recent study attempting to find a way to reverse diabetes, both type-one and type-two, using endocrine cells has been able to show positive results in animal models.
The study was led by Maike Sander, M.D., a professor of pediatrics and cellular and molecular medicine and director of UC San Diego's Pediatric Diabetes Research Center. Dr. Sander, along with other researchers, studied the gene expression and chromatin architecture in primary human endocrine cells and human embryonic stem cells-derived cells using diabetic mice.
"We found that the endocrine cells retrieved from transplanted mice are remarkably similar to primary human endocrine cells," Dr. Sander was quoted as saying.
Both types of cells looked at in the study can be used to generate new beta cells within the pancreas, which in the case of diabetes, fails to produce insulin.
The hope is that by regenerating new beta cells, the pancreas will start to make insulin and possibly reverse the effects of the disease.
During the study, researchers also noticed that the endocrine cells produced in vitro were not able to express most of the genes crucial to cell function, meaning that they could not reverse diabetes in the mice used in the study.
However, the study did show “that hESCs can differentiate into endocrine cells that are almost indistinguishable from their primary human counterparts," Dr. Sander was quoted as saying.
This means that a better treatment for people living with diabetes may be created in the not-so-distant future.
"This will be important not only for cell therapies, but also for identifying disease mechanisms that underlie the pathogenesis of diabetes,” Dr. Sander was quoted as saying.
Source: Cell Stem Cell, January 2013