Is a Cure for Diabetes within Reach - Part 5 - Human Skin Cells turned into Insulin Producing Cells

Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have discovered a technique to transform cells from human skin into cells that produce insulin.

The Technique

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 by inducing them to transform, into cells that perform a particular human bodily function in this case, secreting the hormone insulin.

Clinical Studies

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine study is the first to demonstrate that cells reprogrammed in this way can be turned into insulin-secreting cells. Results of the study are published online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

"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.

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