New Research Shows Transplanting Stem Cells from The Brain to The Pancreas Could Cure Diabetes, as Reported by DiabeticLive.com
According to the findings of one Japanese research team, diabetes may one day be treated by transplanted stem cells from an individual's brain into the pancreas, where they express characteristics of pancreatic beta cells and begin producing insulin as reported by DiabeticLive.com.
Orlando, FL (PRWEB) October 18, 2011
If you have diabetes, there could be a cure in the future by using stem cells from your brain and transplanting them into your pancreas. According to the findings of one Japanese research team, diabetes may one day be treated by transplanted stem cells from an individual's brain into the pancreas, where they express characteristics of pancreatic beta cells and begin producing insulin. The team published their findings in the journal "EMBO Molecular Medicine," noting that the use of neural stem cells as transplants could help address the shortage of donated beta cells.
Dr. Tomoko Kuwabara, of the AIST Institute in Tsubuka, Japan, headed the study. The researchers intended to discover new ways to regulate human stem cell differentiation-a process which allows scientists to transplant stem cells and control their expression so that they grow into the desired type of cell. Having exact control over stem cell differentiation would allow scientists to regrow cells or tissues that have been destroyed, such as the beta cells of the pancreas in patients with diabetes.
Although diabetes may be cured by transplanting donated beta cells, the shortage of donations means that scientists are pursuing other means of re-growing beta cells, such as stem cell transplantation.
"As diabetes is caused by the lack of a single type of cell the condition is an ideal target for cell replacement treatments," said Dr. Kuwabara. "However donation shortages of pancreatic beta cells are a major hurdle to advancing this treatment. So a safe and easy way of using stem cells for obtaining new beta cells has been long awaited."
The researchers used neural cells-pulled from the hippocampus and olfactory bulb regions of the brain-and transplanted them into diabetic rats. Though these cells, which are located in an area that is easily accessible to scientists, do not typically produce much insulin, they took on key characteristics of beta cells once they were transplanted into the rats. The cells began producing more insulin, which caused a decrease in blood sugar levels in the rats; similarly, when the transplanted neural cells were removed, blood sugar levels rose again, demonstrating a link between the cells and the blood glucose levels of the rats.
"The discovery of stem cells which have virtually unlimited self-renewal raises great expectations for their use in regenerative medicine," said Onur Basak and Hans Clevers in a close up paper published alongside Dr. Kuwabara's study. "The isolation and cultivation of stem cells as a renewable source of beta cells would be a major breakthrough."
"Our findings demonstrate the potential value of neural stem cells for treating diabetes without gene transfer," commented Dr. Kuwabara.
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