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Stem cell breakthrough offers diabetes hope
Date:4/3/2008

produce insulin when transplanted into the body.

Furthermore, the scientists for the first time were able to separate the new beta cells from other types of cell produced using a technique called fluorescent-activated cell sorting which uses a special dye to colour the pancreatic cells green.

Research in the United States has shown that transplanting a mixture of differentiated cells and stem cells can cause cancer, so the ability to isolate the pancreatic cells in the lab is a major boost in our bid to develop a successful therapy, said Dr Cosgrove.

Scientists have had some success increasing the number of pancreatic cells produced by altering the environment in which the stem cells develop, so the next stage of our research will be to combine both methods to see what proportions we can achieve.

Scientists believe that transplanting functional beta cells into patients, most likely into their liver where there is a strong blood supply, offers the best hope for finding a cure for type-1 diabetes. It could also offer hope to those with type-2 diabetes whose condition requires insulin injections.

But the more immediate benefit of the teams research is likely to be in providing researchers with a ready-made supply of human pancreatic cells on which to study the disease process of diabetes and test new drugs.


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Contact: Aeron Haworth
aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk
44-161-275-8383
University of Manchester
Source:Eurekalert

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