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Researchers Succeed In Using Human Stem Cells To Cure Diabetes In Mice

Experts found a way to cure diabetes using human stem cells.

Mice in Laboratory
  • Researchers from the Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis found a way to cure diabetes in mice.
  • Experts used human stem cells during the study and diabetes in mice was cured in just a few weeks.

Experts from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have succeeded in using human stem cells to cure diabetes in mice – in just a few weeks time.

According to their published work in Nature Biotechnology, the researchers made use of the human pluripotent stem cells during the study. These cells, known to take the form of human cells, were used in the production of pancreatic beta cells that are responsible in secreting insulin which is an important hormone in regulating a person’s blood sugar level.

Based on the published work, researchers implanted human stem cells in the mice that were given diabetes through streptozotocin. As a result, the animals managed to control their blood sugar levels.

Dr. Jeffrey R. Millman, a principal investigator and an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and of medicine, said that the animals had very severe diabetes. In fact, their blood sugar readings were over 500 milligrams per deciliter of blood. For a human, the levels could already lead to death.

“[W]hen we gave the mice the insulin-secreting cells, within two weeks, their blood sugar levels had returned to normal and stayed that way for many months,” said Millman.

An article from IFLScience said that the experts managed to come up with a new method based on the actin cytoskeleton. They were successful in translating biochemical cues for the cells and in eventually finding an effective method in producing the right cells.

The authors said in their paper that they succeeded in establishing the link between the state of the actin cytoskeleton along with the expression of pancreatic transcription factors. Such factors are responsible for driving “pancreatic lineage specification.”

In the meantime, the said treatment method took effect in some mice for more than nine months to over a year. It is worth mentioning, however, that the treatment has yet to be applied to humans.


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