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 3,100+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,500+ 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
A Boost for Regenerative Medicine
Growing tissues and organs in the lab for transplantation into patients could become easier after scientists discovered an effective way to produce three-dimensional networks of blood vessels, vital for tissue survival yet a current stumbling block in regenerative medicine.
Heart Defect Prediction Technology Could Lead to Earlier, More Informed Treatment
Experimental method uses genetics-guided biomechanics, patient-specific stem cells.
Immune Cells Remember Their First Meal
Scientists at the University of Bristol have identified the trigger for immune cells' inflammatory response – a discovery that may pave the way for new treatments for many human diseases.
Cancer Cells Coordinate to Form Roving Clusters
Rice University scientists identify ‘smoking gun’ in metastasis of hybrid cells.
Bio-Mimicry Method For Preparing & Labeling Stem Cells Developed
Method allows researchers to prepare mesenchymal stem cells and monitor them using MRI.
Transcription Factor Isoforms Implicated in Colon Diseases
UC Riverside study explains how distribution of two forms of a transcription factor in the colon influence risk of disease.
New Bio-Glass Could Make it Possible to Re-Grow or Replace Cartilage
Researchers at Imperial College London have developed a material that can mimic cartilage and potentially encourage it to re-grow.
Stem Cell Advance Could Be Key Step Toward Treating Deadly Blood Diseases
UCLA scientists get closer to creating blood stem cells in the lab.
Harnessing Engineered Slippery Surfaces For Tissue Repair
A new method could facilitate the transfer of intact regenerating cell sheets from the culture dish to damaged tissues in patients.
Brazilian Zika Virus Strain Causes Birth Defects in Experimental Models
First direct experimental proof of causal effect, researchers say.
SELECTBIO

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
3,100+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!