Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Stem Cells, Cellular Therapy & Biobanking
>
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

UNC-CH Scientists Turn Human Skin Cells Into Insulin-Producing Cells

Published: Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Bookmark and Share
Researchers have transformed cells from human skin into cells that produce insulin, the hormone used to treat diabetes.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have transformed cells from human skin into cells that produce insulin, the hormone used to treat diabetes.

The breakthrough may one day lead to new treatments or even a cure for the millions of people affected by the disease, researchers say.

The approach involves reprogramming skin cells into pluripotent stem cells, or cells that can give rise to any other fetal or adult cell type, and then inducing them to differentiate, or transform, into cells that perform a particular function – in this case, secreting insulin.

Several recent studies have shown that cells can be returned to pluripotent state using “defined factors” (specific proteins that control which genes are active in a cell), a technique pioneered by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, a professor at Kyoto University in Japan.

However, the UNC study is the first to demonstrate that cells reprogrammed in this way can be coaxed to differentiate into insulin-secreting cells. Results of the study are published online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

“Not only have we shown that we can reprogram skin cells, but we have also demonstrated that these reprogrammed cells can be differentiated into insulin-producing cells which hold great therapeutic potential for diabetes,” said study lead author Yi Zhang, Ph.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UNC and member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“Of course, there are many years of additional studies that are required first, but this study provides hope for a cure for all patients with diabetes,” said John Buse, M.D., Ph.D., president of the American Diabetes Association and professor and chief of the endocrinology division in the UNC School of Medicine’s department of medicine.

About 24 million Americans suffer from diabetes, a disease that occurs when the body is unable to produce or use insulin properly. Virtually all patients with type I diabetes, the more severe of the two types, must rely on daily injections of insulin to maintain their blood sugar levels.

Recent research exploring a possible long-term treatment – the transplantation of insulin-producing beta cells into patients – has yielded promising results. But this approach faces its own challenges, given the extreme shortage of matched organ donors and the need to suppress patients’ immune systems.

The work by Zhang and other researchers could potentially address those problems, since insulin-producing cells could be made from diabetic patients’ own reprogrammed cells.

Zhang is collaborating with Buse to obtain skin samples from diabetes patients. He said he hoped his current experiments will take this approach one step closer to a new treatment or even a cure for diabetes.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 4,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,300+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Stem Cells Turned into Cancer Killers
Skin cells turned cancer-killing stem cells hunt down and destroy the deadly remnants inevitably left behind when a brain tumor is surgically removed.
Friday, February 26, 2016
Stem Cells Turned into Cancer Killers
Skin cells turned cancer-killing stem cells hunt down and destroy the deadly remnants inevitably left behind when a brain tumor is surgically removed.
Friday, February 26, 2016
New Way to Force Stem Cells to Become Bone Cells
Potential therapies based on this discovery could help people heal bone injuries or set hardware, such as replacement knees and hips.
Monday, November 16, 2015
A Single-Cell Breakthrough
UNC School of Medicine scientist Scott Magness and collaborators use their newly developed technology to dissect properties of single stem cells. The advancement will allow researchers to study gastrointestinal disorders and cancers like never before.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
UNC and Olympus Partner to Open Advanced Imaging Center for Life Science Research
New center provides researchers with advanced technology in an environment intended to encourage the highest levels of scientific inquiry.
Friday, June 04, 2010
Scientific News
Stem Cells in Drug Discovery
Potential Source of Unlimited Human Test Cells, but Roadblocks Remain.
Allen Institute Releases Gene Edited Human Stem Cell Lines
The Allen Cell Collection, a publicly available collection of gene edited pluripotent stem cells, has been made available by the Allen Institute.
Designer Cell Fate Switches Could Streamline Stem Cell Biology
Researchers develop new method of reprogramming cells between cell types in a more efficient way than before.
Improving Drug Production with Computer Model
A model has been developed that can be used to improve and accelerate the production of biotherapeutics, cancer drugs, and vaccines.
Defining Immortality of Stem Cells
Researchers defined the mechanisms underlying increased protein quality control of pluripotent stem cells.
BioCision Forms MedCision
The new company will focus on technologies for the management and automation of vital clinical processes.
Stem Cells Police Themselves to Reduce Scarring
Scientists have discovered stem cells in muscle fibers change gene expressions to respond to injury.
Regenerating Diseased Hearts
Researchers from the University of Otago have probed the potential of adult stem cell types to repair diseased hearts.
Enhancing CRISPR to Explore Further
Researchers have developed sOPTiKO, a more efficient and controllable CRISPR genome editing platform.
Bright Red Fluorescent Protein Created
Scientists have created a bright red, fluorescent protein that could be used to track essential cellular processes.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
4,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,300+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!