In the recent research done by the team from the University of Geneva, scientists have replenished insulin-producing cells in people suffering from Type 1 diabetes by regenerating human non-insulin-producing pancreatic islet cells.
The study is published in Nature on 13 February 2019.
In this study, researchers have reprogrammed and modified human cells, such as α cells modified to adopt properties of the β cell. Pancreatic islet α cells emit glucagon, while β cells discharge insulin.
Researchers have examined the deceased non-diabetic or diabetic human donors by extracting their purified α and γ cells. They have traced the lineage and reprogrammed by the transcription factors PDX1 and MAFA to produce and secrete insulin in response to glucose.
According to the research the experiment was done on a mouse model of Type 1 diabetes by transplanting regenerated α cell from non-diabetic donors. After six months of engraftment the transplanted cell, an α stopped producing the glucagon and expressed insulin.
This transplantation has also proved to improve glucose tolerance in mice, normalized hyperglycemia, increased serum insulin levels following the glucose stimulation and at last reduced body weight loss.
The research shows whether focused on transcription factor conveyance to islets could reconstruct α or γ cells into β-like cells.
Pedro Herrera, the study author and professor of genetic medicine and development at University of Geneva, said, “The idea is to foster the intrinsic capacity of regeneration by targeting the islet cells in situ, in the body of the patient without any transplantation.”
This research has provided proof and molecular framework for a mechanistic understanding of experimented cell as a treatment for diabetes, and other degenerative diseases.