Converting Skin Cells to Pancreatic Cells May Help Protect Against Diabetes - Dream Health

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Saturday 16 January 2016

Converting Skin Cells to Pancreatic Cells May Help Protect Against Diabetes


Human Cells Converted into Pancreatic Cells

For the treatment of diabetes, scientists have successfully converted human skin cells into pancreatic cells which created insulin and protected the mice from developing diabetes. Researchers at the Gladstone Institute and the University of California, San Francisco-USCF,state that their discoveries have opened the door for diseases modelling, making personalized cell therapy and drug screening a step nearer for patients suffering from diabetes.

The study that was published in Nature Communication on January 6 involved reprogramming skin cells in early development of cells and thereafter adding molecule in order that the endoderm progenitor cell tends to divide quickly. Additional two steps developed the cells into completely functional pancreatic beta cells. The skin cells had been reprogrammed in a laboratory to an embryonic like condition prior to being developed in a culture medium to grow into the beta cells of the pancreas that produces insulin.

The most important thing noted by the researchers was that mice were safeguarded from developing diabetes in an animal model of the ailment since the cells had the capability of producing insulin in reaction to changes in glucose levels. System of cellular reprogramming seems to be more scalable than the earlier procedures.

Development Warrants Greater Regulation in New Cells

Co-senior author Sheng Ding, PhD, a senior investigator in the Roddenberry Stem Cell Centre at Gladstone had commented in the news release that `this development warrants greater regulations in the manufacturing process of new cells and can generate virtually unlimited numbers of patient matched insulin producing pancreatic cells.

According to the National Institutes of Health, diabetes tends to take place when the blood glucose levels goes too high. Insulin, a hormone is utilised in helping the cells to consume glucose for energy. Diabetes patients of type 1 are unable to make insulin and diabetics with type 2 do not have the ability of making or using insulin well.

Matthias Hebrok, director of the diabetes centre at UCSF and a co-senior author on the study published in the journal Nature Communications had stated that the results reveal for the first time that human adult skin cells could be used to efficiently and quickly generate functional pancreatic cells which tend to behave in the same way as human beta cells.

Patients with Array of Diseases – Capable of Transforming their Own Cells

Type 1 diabetes patients tend to suffer from under-production of insulin and need regular injections of the hormone that cannot be taken in the oral form and developing a system of repopulating the pancreas with working beta cells could lead to an effective cure for the ailment.

Postdoctoral researcher at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and firstauthor of the study, Saivong Zhu informs that `this study represents the first successful creation of human insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells utilising direct cellular reprogramming system.

The final step was the most unique and the most difficult as the molecules had not been identified earlier which could take reprogrammed cells the final step to the functional pancreatic cells in a dish’.The utilisation of autologous reprogrammed cells should associate to less complication for the future patients. Dr. Ding comments that ultimately, patients with a broad array of diseases could be capable of transforming their own cells by simply taking a pill.

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