Adult Stem Cell “Memories” Could Aid in Type 1 Treatment

Stem Cell Research

| Aug 4, 2011

Israeli researchers have found that stem cells derived from adult pancreatic cells are more efficient at making insulin-producing cells than stem cells derived from embryos.  Scientists at Tel Aviv University theorize that the cells retain a "memory" of what they were before they were coaxed into becoming stem cells. That memory includes the ability to produce insulin. Because of it, the adult stem cells are better at forming insulin-making cells than their embryonic counterparts.

Stem cells, whether derived from embryos or adults, are considered "pluripotent," which means they have the ability to differentiate into many different cell types. Scientists sees them as potential building blocks for organ reconstruction.

For people who have type 1 diabetes, which results from an autoimmune attack that destroys their pancreatic beta cells, the Israeli research suggests that stem cells might someday be used to reconstruct functioning beta cells. A stem cell-based therapy would be a welcome alternative to organ transplants, which can lead to organ rejection or a lifetime of taking immune-suppressing drugs.

Because the new beta cells would come from a patient's own body, there would be less likelihood of outright rejection. However, because type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, stem cell research will have to go hand-in-hand with treatments that inhibit the autoimmune attack on beta cells.

The study was published in Cell Stem Cell, the official affiliated journal of the International Society for Stem Cell Research.

 

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Categories: , Diabetes, Diabetes, Type 1 Issues


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Comments

Posted by Anonymous on 4 August 2011

We've heard this all before. How about we actually do something significant at the patients bedside before we post it for the "headlines & hope" crowds.

Posted by Anonymous on 5 August 2011

Why is it countries that have universal health care are making great strides in preventing Type 1 diabetes as a vaccine or finding alternatives to expensive maintenance drug/synthetic insulin programs as replacing beta cells and protecting those cells from the antibodies that attack? I know why! It is our country's belief that health care isn't a right but rather a life source to the "vampires" (aka the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries) that suck the life and finances out of us; especially those suffering from diseases, disorders, accidents...regardless if it is physical or mental. I pray every day another more caring enlightened nation will come up with those "resolves" for Type 1 diabetes, not just for a better quality of life, but the chance to even just survive. I also pray this nation wakes up out of its stupor and ignorance and starts to do the right thing that so many other intelligent nations are doing. Namaste and God Bless.

Posted by Anonymous on 5 August 2011

Unless it's a treatment at the bedside or a cure, please don't publish articles like this. We have heard so much of this and it yields nothing. The first islet cells were transplanted into rats in 1976 and researchers are still fumbling with them but blame it on supply. Pass along facts, not "could" or "maybe" one day impact diabetes. It's nothing more than the perpetuation of false hope. My family has heard it for over 40 years and we still have complications and INJECT insulin. I come to this site for fact not fiction. Thank you.


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