New hopes for diabetes cure
- By: Sian Knight
New research into cell differentiation has raised hopes of finding a cure for insulin-dependent diabetes mellitis. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last month has shown that in vitro, duct tissue from the human pancreas can be expanded and then reverted back into pancreatic stem cells. By culturing these cells under the correct conditions, they can be directed towards differentiating into islet cells. This is an important step forward in diabetic research as duct tissue is available in a much larger volume than that of islet cells. The American research team has shown that this process of ductal tissue differentiation can produce a 10-fold to 15-fold increase in insulin content. The cells also respond appropriately to increases in blood glucose volumes.
Insulin dependent diabetes affects an estimated half a million people in the United Kingdom. It results from an autoimmune destruction of insulin producing