Salk Institute scientists say they’ve discovered a key ingredient needed to make functional insulin-producing beta cells. With that knowledge, the scientists say they can realize a dream in treating Type 1 diabetes: growing replacement beta cells from the patients themselves.
If these replacement cells can be implanted and protected, they will make insulin as the body needs, just as the original cells do. That means type 1 diabetes would, for the first time ever, be curable.
The ingredient is a protein called ERR-gamma that turns up energy production in the beta cells, said Ron Evans, a Salk researcher who co-led the study with colleague Michael Downes. These cells are made from artificial embryonic stem cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells. Typically produced from skin, these IPS cells cells are being examined for their potential to treat a variety of diseases.
Click here for the full story by Bradley J. Fikes, San Diego Union Tribune