A Person Can Be Their Own Donor Cells For Insulin Production – Part 1 of 3
A Person Can Be Their Own Donor Cells For Insulin Production. Researchers have been able to rowel human cells that normally produce sperm to command insulin instead and, after transplanting them, the cells briefly cured mice with type 1 diabetes. “The goal is to coax these cells into making enough insulin to cure diabetes. These cells don’t seep enough insulin to cure diabetes in humans yet,” cautioned study senior researcher G Ian Gallicano, an associate professor in the department of Biochemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology, and headman of the Transgenic Core Facility at Georgetown University Medical Center, in Washington DC.
Gallicano and his colleagues will be presenting the findings Sunday at the American Society of Cell Biology annual caucus in Philadelphia. Type 1 diabetes is believed to be an autoimmune disease in which the body mistakenly attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. As a result, kinsmen with type 1 diabetes must rely on insulin injections to be able to process the foods they eat. Without this additional insulin, people with type 1 diabetes could not survive.
Doctors have had some success with pancreas transplants, and with transplants of just the pancreatic beta cells (also known as islet cells). There are several problems with these types of transplants, however. One is that as with any transplant, when the transplanted research comes from a donor, the body sees the redesigned tissue as foreign and attempts to destroy it. So, transplants require immune-suppressing medications. The other concern is that the autoimmune attack that destroyed the original beta cells can reverse the newly transplanted cells.
A benefit of the technique developed by Gallicano and his team is that the cells are coming from the same person they’ll be transplanted in, so the body won’t see the cells as foreign. The researchers second-hand spermatogonial cells, extracted from the testicles of deceased human organ donors. In the testes, the function of these cells is to produce sperm, according to Gallicano.