Science 2 min read

Researchers Find Possible Diabetes Cure Using Human Stem Cells

Researchers from the University of California just developed a new method of fighting Type 1 Diabetes by creating human stem cells that can produce insulin.

This new approach could finally provide a long term cure for Type-1 Diabetes. | Image via University of Californa

This new approach could finally provide a long term cure for Type-1 Diabetes. | Image via University of Californa

A team of researchers from the University of California just made a breakthrough by turning human stem cells into cells that produce insulin. The feat now puts science a step closer to finding the cure for Type 1 diabetes.

For years, researchers searched for ways to replace insulin-producing cells to treat T1 diabetes. Unfortunately, all efforts to replicate this natural process failed. Until recently, regenerative medicine remained impossible. Now, however, this research team may finally have an answer.

“We can now generate insulin-producing cells that look and act a lot like the pancreatic beta cells you and I have in our bodies. This is a critical step towards our goal of creating cells that could be transplanted into patients with diabetes,” Matthias Hebrok, senior author of the study from the Diabetes Research at UCSF and director of the UCSF Diabetes Center, said.

Turning Human Stem Cells Into Insulin-Producing Cells

Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes usually manage their condition by taking regular shots of insulin together with healthy meals. However, despite taking insulin treatment, people with T1 diabetes still have high chances of suffering from serious health problems.

The researchers believe that turning human stem cells into insulin-producing cells can potentially lead to better and more efficient diabetes treatment.

During their experiment, Hebrok and his team artificially separated pancreatic stem cells then reformed them into islet-like clusters. These beta cells responded better to blood sugar in a similar manner to our body’s insulin-producing cells.

The researchers tested the beta cells, transplanting them into healthy mice. Just a few days after, the transplanted islets started producing insulin in response to spikes in the blood sugar level of the mice.

The team plans to use CRISPR gene-editing technology in the future to make the artificial insulin-producing cells suitable for human transplant.

“We’re finally able to move forward on a number of different fronts that were previously closed to us,” Hebrok was quoted as saying. “The possibilities seem endless.”

You can find the team’s study in the journal Nature Cell Biology.

Read More: Experimental Treatment For Type 2 Diabetes Shows Promising Results

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Rechelle is an SEO content producer, technical writer, researcher, social media manager, and visual artist. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with family and friends.

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