I was reading Marina C story that there are pancreas transplants. I had no idea, but it started me to thinking about is anyone researching the possibility of cloning or using stem cells to produce a pancreas for transplant or islet cells for placement into the liver to create insulin?
yes, lots of researchers are working on this.
there are two schools of thought:
First: If there are Islet/Beta cell stem cells, then can we stimulate them to divide and replace beta cells?
the caveat is that in diabetes, frequently these beta cells are lost and destroyed, including the stem cells, and stimulating the “stem cells” (we aren’t even sure they are in fact true stem cells) is really difficult. We can currently create beta cell like cells, but they don’t function correctly.
the second school of thought is to create islets from other stem cells readily available in the body, like bone marrow. However, this requires turning a bone marrow cell into an islet beta cell and is extremely difficult.
Using cells we have already treated that came from cadavers or such is one way that is also being examined, but that runs into the issue of organ/tissue rejection since these existing cells are not from your body.
No one is trying to grow an entire organ- since the pancreas has multiple functions and therefore has multiple types of tissues which originate from very different cells in an embryo.
However, people do research idea of getting a pancreas transplant from a donor (like a heart transplant or liver transplant, etc) but this requires someone to die first, consent, etc.
Sorry if this sounds negative, I am a researcher myself, but this entire area is difficult and challenging. It is just not as easy as it seems, but we ARE trying- very very hard.
thanks for your hardwork but can you all work thru lunch on this