The Danish Stem Cell Center (DanStem) specialists along with Hagedorn Research Institute scientists reported a possible breakthrough in our knowledge about natural insulin production. According to these discoveries, there is a way to convert the stem cells into beta cells that are aimed at producing insulin and can be implanted into diabetics.
Insulin is an incredibly important hormone, produced in pancreatic gland by special cells called beta cells. In case those cells function improperly, diabetes disease develops in your body. This hormone is crucial for sustaining life and if you cannot produce your own, you should receive doses of it with daily injections. Moreover, different side effects are sure to arise, like cardiac conditions, partial or full blindness, nerve and kidney complications and in case of lack of the insulin, the fatal end is imminent
The researchers hope to offer a new way of treatment for diabetes, based upon stem cells therapy in the nearest future.
“We need to understand which mechanisms supervise the production of beta cells to be able to apply these to the primary stem cells in our test tubes, which will then turn them into beta cells , so these cells will be able to replace the damaged beta cells and start producing insulin,” states Professor Palle Serrup from DanStem.
The specialists from DanStem and Hagedorn Institute obtained these encouraging results in cooperation with their colleagues from Japan, Germany, USA and Korea. The National Academy of Sciences has recently published their full research report.
The first control mechanism, which starts the process of creating beta cells is well known and thoroughly researched. “The new study gave lots of knowledge about the second step of the process, also known as the Notch signaling mechanism. It inhibits the beta cells creation in the first phase and stimulates the process in the 2 part of the cycle,” said Professor Serup.
Armed with this newly discovered knowledge about the Notch signaling mechanism, the scientists hope to be able to control the process of stem cells transformation into the beta cells in the test tubes soon. After this phase being thoroughly studied and tested, time for stem beta cells implants is at hand.