Navigation Links
Stem Cells Finally Found in Pancreas

Discovery could lead to new treatments for diabetes, researchers say

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- An international team of researchers has finally managed to locate stem cells in the pancreas -- in mice, at least.

If the findings are confirmed in humans, they could pave the way for dramatic new therapies for diabetes, namely the regeneration of beta cells so the body could once again produce its own insulin. Until now, scientists had all but abandoned hopes that the pancreas made its own stem cells because they had failed to find evidence to support the theory.

But any clinical advances from the new research are still a long way off, experts cautioned.

"This is the first conclusive evidence that there are stem cells in the pancreas, but any potential benefit is a very long way away," said Juan Dominguez-Bendala, director of Stem Cell Development for Translational Research at the Diabetes Research Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

"If this kind of cell and their progenitors with a capacity to divide exist in the pancreas of man, and if we can identify the factors that are responsible to induce their proliferation and differentiation, then these latter processes might be stimulated in vitro but also, by noninvasive means, in vivo," said senior study author Harry Heimberg, an associate professor at the Diabetes Research Center of Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium.

The findings are published in the Jan. 25 issue of the journal Cell.

Diabetes is primarily a failing of the pancreatic beta cells to produce insulin. Beta cells are one of several types of cells making up clusters of cells called the islets of Langerhans.

Insulin is a hormone that moves blood sugar from the bloodstream to the cells, where it is used as energy.

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas has lost all or virtually all of its ability to produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the loss of beta cells is more gradual.

Islet-cell transplantation, in which islets are transferred from one person to another, is performed today but is limited in scope because of a shortage of donors, according to the study.

The very existence of pancreatic stem cells is controversial. A recent study out of Harvard found that the major source of new beta cells in adult mice was preexisting beta cells, not stem cells. The finding reduced the urgency to track down pancreatic stem cells.

"If stem cells didn't contribute, what was the point," said Dominguez-Bendala.

For this study, Heimberg and his colleagues cut off the duct that drains digestive enzymes from the pancreas in mice. Within two weeks, the number of beta cells in the pancreas doubled.

Not only did the number of beta cells increase, the mice started producing more insulin.

"When damaged a specific way, it triggered stem cells" production, Dominguez-Bendala said.

The newly identified stem cells were almost identical to embryonic beta cell progenitors. In fact, the gene Neurogenin 3 (Ngn3), which plays a role in embryonic development of the pancreas, is also involved in the formation of these new beta cells, the researchers said.

"This is a model of regeneration no one has tested before," Dominguez-Bendala said. "From a basic science point of view, it's very exciting. It opens the door to potential therapies. If we could trigger regeneration, that would be fantastic."

More information

For more on pancreatic islet transplantation, visit the U.S. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse.

SOURCES: Juan Dominguez-Bendala, Ph.D., director, Stem Cell Development for Translational Research, Diabetes Research Institute, and assistant professor, surgery, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami; Harry Heimberg, Ph.D., associate professor, Diabetes Research Center, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium; Jan. 25, 2008, Cell

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Tumors use enzyme to recruit regulatory T-cells and suppress immune response
2. Brain cells work differently than previously thought
3. Embryonic Stem Cells Repair Human Heart
4. Embryonic Human Stem Cells May Help Repair Heart Muscle, Lab Study Shows
5. Circulating fats kill transplanted pancreas cells, study shows
6. Experimental anti-cancer drug made from corn lillies kills brain tumor stem cells
7. Melanoma drug revs immune cells but cancer cells ignore it
8. Scientists explain how insulin secreting cells maintain their glucose sensitivity
9. Embryonic stem cells used to grow cartilage
10. Molecular probe paints cancer cells in living animals, Stanford researchers find
11. USC researcher identifies stem cells in tendons that regenerate tissue in animal model
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Stem Cells Finally Found in Pancreas
(Date:11/29/2015)... ... November 29, 2015 , ... ProStatic Analog Distortion ... tool designed specially for Final Cut Pro X. FCPX users can ... easy-to-use modification controls. Destoying and creating chaotic distortion is now quick and simple, ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... , ... November 28, 2015 , ... Safe storage for ... of two inventors, one from Lakewood, New Jersey and the other from Bradley Beach, ... patent-pending PROTECTOR to save the expense of having to replace NuvaRings more often than ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Canada (PRWEB) , ... November 28, 2015 , ... There ... do we outperform our billings from last year? , This question has not been ... organizations are coming to the retirement age and the younger workforce don’t share the ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... The rapid speed ... As people age, more care is needed, especially with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other ... are being overworked. The forgotten part of this equation: 80 percent of medical ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Lizzie’s Lice Pickers just announced ... offering customers 10% off of their purchase of lice treatment product. In addition, customers ... According to a company spokesperson. “Finding lice is a sure way to ruin the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/29/2015)... , Nov. 29, 2015 CIVCO Medical ... technology at the Radiological Society of ... Chicago November 29 – December ... designed to offer customers unrivaled versatility, enhanced user ... --> ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... -- --> --> ... potential to save costs, improve treatment quality and accelerate ... exploited as yet. Here, particular emphasis is placed on ... tablet or directly at the patients, bedside. ... -->      (Photo: ) ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... 2015 Research and Markets ( ) ... Devices Market 2015-2019" report to their offering. ... this report, the author the present scenario and growth ... To calculate the market size, the report considers revenue ... Hormonal IUDs and copper IUDs. The report forecasts the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: