A team of renowned academics have detected a new and improved pathway for the regeneration of insulin in pancreatic stem cells – paving the way for better type 1 diabetes therapies.
Scientists from Monash University used an approved drug to reactivate the pancreas stem cells of a donor with type 1 diabetes to become insulin-expressing.
According to the team of researchers, this treatment method would replace damaged insulin-producing cells (beta-cells) in people with type 1 diabetes with newly functioning insulin-generating cells.
Diabetes specialists Professor Sam El-Osta and Dr Ishant Khurana led this study – which could potentially cure insulin-dependent diabetes.
Professor El-Osta said: “We consider that our research is novel and is an important step forward towards developing new therapies.
“People rely on daily insulin injections to replace what would have been produced by the pancreas.”
He added: “Currently, the only other effective therapy requires pancreatic islet transplantation and while this has improved health outcomes for individuals with diabetes, transplantation relies on organ donors, so it has limited widespread use.”
Joint author Dr Al-Hasani said: “Before you get to people, there are many issues to be resolved. More work is required to define the properties of these cells and establish protocols to isolate and expand them.
“I would think therapy is pretty far away. However, this represents an important step along the way to devising a lasting treatment that might be applicable for all types of diabetes.”
The full study can now be accessed here.