Islets of Hope
Renea Jo Zosel
"Diabetes exacts its toll on many Americans, young and old. For years, researchers have painstakingly dissected this complicated disease caused by the destruction of insulin producing islet cells of the pancreas. Despite progress in understanding the underlying disease mechanisms for diabetes, there is still a paucity of effective therapies. For years investigators have been making slow, but steady, progress on experimental strategies for pancreatic transplantation and islet cell replacement. Now, researchers have turned their attention to adult stem cells that appear to be precursors to islet cells and embryonic stem cells that produce insulin."
National Institutes of Health, Stem Cell Information, Chapter 7: Stem Cells and Diabetes
Links to more information about stem cell research and diabetes
Diabetes Research Developments main Research page
Diabetes and Stem Cell Research, Development and
Position Statement - Stem cell research and diabetes - February 2002 (Reviewed April 2006); Diabetes UK -
Stem Cell Information: Section 7, Stem Cells and Diabetes (National Institutes of Health). ...Future Directions: Ultimately, type 1 diabetes may prove to be especially difficult to cure, because the cells are destroyed when the body's own immune system attacks and destroys them. ... Many researchers believe that at least initially, immunosuppressive therapy similar to that used in the Edmonton protocol will be beneficial. A potential advantage of embryonic cells is that, in theory, they could be engineered to express the appropriate genes that would allow them to escape or reduce detection by the immune system.
Embryonic Stem Cells Advance Diabetes Cure, Wisconsin Technology Network. - Three UW-Madison scientists have invented a method of directing embryonic stem cells to turn into pancreatic islet cells, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) announced last week. The procedure has the potential to greatly increase the number of islet cells available for transplantation into diabetic patients. 10/10/05
Adult stem cells effect a cure - Diabetes cure may reduce need for embryo cells, William J. Cromi, Gazette Staff, Havard Gazette - The permanent reversal of Type 1 diabetes in mice may end the wrenching debate over harvesting stem cells from the unborn to treat adult diseases. Researchers at Harvard Medical School killed cells responsible for the diabetes, then the animals' adult stem cells took over and regenerated missing cells needed to produce insulin and eliminate the disease.
Stem Cells in the Treatment of Diabetes: Therapeutic Potential and Ethical Considerations, by Catherine Mastroieni, a paper prepared for "Ethical Issues in Biotechnology and Genetics," an undergraduate class in the Biology Department of Santa Clara University - Recent reports suggest that one of the most promising potential treatments may come from the use of stem cells, undifferentiated cells that can be coaxed into becoming insulin-producing islet-like cells that reduce diabetes symptoms in mice.
Stem Cell Discovery Could Aid In Diabetes Treatments. Science Daily, August 23, 2004 -- A University of Alberta diabetes researcher has helped uncover a possible new source of insulin for diabetics and a valuable clue in the treatment of neurological disorders.
Stem Cell Breakthrough Helps 85% Of Type 2 Diabetes Patients - A study carried out in Argentina ... demonstrated that stem cells implanted into type 2 diabetes patients, in direct form into the pancreas, improve the production of Endogenous Insulin, increase the levels of “C Peptide”, decrease blood glucose levels and glycated hemoglobin levels faster than other treatments. 84% of the patients that had received the autologuous bone marrow cells could also abandon the drugs that stimulate insulin production or the insulin that they had been receiving previously. 02/07/06
Also, see Stem Cell Research Headlines Archive
Page Updated 05/09/2006