Navigation Links
UNC scientists turn human skin cells into insulin-producing cells
Date:9/17/2008

CHAPEL HILL Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have transformed cells from human skin into cells that produce insulin, the hormone used to treat diabetes.

The breakthrough may one day lead to new treatments or even a cure for the millions of people affected by the disease, researchers say.

The approach involves reprogramming skin cells into pluripotent stem cells, or cells that can give rise to any other fetal or adult cell type, and then inducing them to differentiate, or transform, into cells that perform a particular function in this case, secreting insulin.

Several recent studies have shown that cells can be returned to pluripotent state using "defined factors" (specific proteins that control which genes are active in a cell), a technique pioneered by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, a professor at Kyoto University in Japan.

However, the UNC study is the first to demonstrate that cells reprogrammed in this way can be coaxed to differentiate into insulin-secreting cells. Results of the study are published online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

"Not only have we shown that we can reprogram skin cells, but we have also demonstrated that these reprogrammed cells can be differentiated into insulin-producing cells which hold great therapeutic potential for diabetes," said study lead author Yi Zhang, Ph.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UNC and member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"Of course, there are many years of additional studies that are required first, but this study provides hope for a cure for all patients with diabetes," said John Buse, M.D., Ph.D., president of the American Diabetes Association and professor and chief of the endocrinology division in the UNC School of Medicine's department of medicine.

About 24 million Americans suffer from diabetes, a disease that occurs when the body is unable to produce or use insulin properly. Virtually all patients with type I diabetes, the more severe of the two types, must rely on daily injections of insulin to maintain their blood sugar levels.

Recent research exploring a possible long-term treatment the transplantation of insulin-producing beta cells into patients has yielded promising results. But this approach faces its own challenges, given the extreme shortage of matched organ donors and the need to suppress patients' immune systems.

The work by Zhang and other researchers could potentially address those problems, since insulin-producing cells could be made from diabetic patients' own reprogrammed cells.

Zhang is collaborating with Buse to obtain skin samples from diabetes patients. He said he hoped his current experiments will take this approach one step closer to a new treatment or even a cure for diabetes.


'/>"/>

Contact: Les Lang
llang@med.unc.edu
919-966-9366
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Scientists isolate cancer stem cells
2. Scientists form alliance to develop nanotoxicology protocols
3. Scientists point to forests for carbon storage solutions
4. US Air Force technology helps scientists understand plant root function
5. Best way to treat malaria: Avoid using same drug for everyone, scientists say
6. Scientists uncover Ebola cell-invasion strategy
7. Scientists use remote satellite imaging to predict outbreaks of infectious disease
8. Scientists develop new method to investigate origin of life
9. Caltech scientists create DNA tubes with programmable sizes for nanoscale manufacturing
10. Indiana U researchers launch social networking and research management tool for scientists
11. CSHL scientists identify new drug target against virulent type of breast cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
UNC scientists turn human skin cells into insulin-producing cells
(Date:3/6/2017)... Calif. , March 6, 2017 ... and sales technology, today announced Predictive Sales Coach ... for infusing actionable sales intelligence into Salesforce. This ... automatically enable their sales organizations with deep knowledge ... that allow for intelligent engagement. Predictive Sales Coach ...
(Date:3/1/2017)...  Aware, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWRE), a leading supplier of ... Moberg has resigned, effective March 3, 2017, as ... and Treasurer of Aware citing a desire to retire.  ... of the Board of Directors of Aware. ... and co-President, General Counsel has been named Chief Executive ...
(Date:2/26/2017)...  Securus Technologies, a leading provider of civil ... investigation, corrections and monitoring, announces the appointment of ... "Too often, too many offenders return to jail ... trying to tackle this ongoing problem and improve ... members. While significant steps are underway, Securus continues to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... Benchworks CEO Thad ... Officer Forum on March 23-24 in San Diego. The event is a gathering ... industries. , Benchworks Vice President Christian Meyer will also participate in the forum. ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , ... March 21, 2017 , ... The Conference Forum ... (CMO Summit) to be held on May 10-11, 2017, at the Colonnade Hotel in ... specifically for Chief Medical Officer peer-to-peer learning, benchmarking and support. , “The Chief Medical ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), an optical ... as a way to track the brain’s response to acute pain in adults and ... pressor test ,” published today in the journal Neurophotonics , by SPIE, ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 22, 2017 , ... March 22, 2017...Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, ... that utilizes technological innovation in smart, sustainable ways. Humans depend on plants for food, ... and environmental stability. This paper is the first in a series that connects science ...
Breaking Biology Technology: