Can More Stem Cells Lead to T1 Regenerative Therapy?

Scientists long have been entranced by the power of embryonic stem cells to grow all the organs the body needs. Harnessing the power of stem cells, in theory, could allow scientists to devise therapies to either replace or repair failing organs, including pancreases.

But until recently, there hasn’t been a reliable and affordable way to grow the stem cells needed to make such therapy a truly viable option. Human embryonic stem cells can only be gathered from the destruction of human embryos, a process that leaves those who oppose abortions uneasy. More recently, scientists at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Japan announced in 2007 that they were able to manipulate the genes of adult skin and blood cells to make those cells revert to stem cells, but such a method still is seen as expensive and imprecise.

But now scientists at the RIKEN Center have announced the discovery of a new and better way to grow stem cells from mature blood cells. They found that if they bathed a blood cell in a mild acid for 30 minutes it would react to that stress by reverting back to a stem cell within a few days. When injected in a mouse embryo, the grown stem cells can grow all the organs needed for the mouse, according to a report on NPR.

Such a discovery has regenerative research scientists celebrating, as it has the potential to greatly streamline the process of stem cell research. Greater stem cell access could hasten the work of scientists to develop effective regenerative cell therapy for many conditions, including Type 1 diabetes. Dr. Juan Dominguez-Bendala, director of the Pancreatic Development & Stem Cell Laboratory at the Diabetes Research Institute, says that such a development could advance the regenerative arm of cutting-edge diabetes treatments if combined with effective immunotherapies.

complete article from Insulin Nation here