Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stem cell 'memory' can boost insulin levels

Date:
July 14, 2011
Source:
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Summary:
Scientist have now derived embryonic-like stem cells from adult stem cells that appear to retain their effectiveness in producing insulin in the human body. This research may promise a new avenue of treatment that avoids costly and dangerous pancreas transplants.

Stem cells from early embryos can be coaxed into becoming a diverse array of specialized cells to revive and repair different areas of the body. Therapies based on these stem cells have long been contemplated for the treatment of diabetes, but have been held back by medical and ethical drawbacks.

Related Articles


Now researchers at Tel Aviv University are capitalizing on the "memories" of stem cells generated from adult cells to bring new hope to sufferers of juvenile or type 1 diabetes, which affects three million people in the United States. Adult-derived stem cells could pave the way for new treatment of diabetes, says a TAU researcher.

Prof. Shimon Efrat of TAU's Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, says these "induced pluripotent stem cells," derived from adult cells, represent an embryonic-like state. To some degree, he found, the cells retain a "memory" of what they once were -- when created from pancreatic beta cells, the cells responsible for the production of insulin, these pluripotent cells prove more efficient than their embryonic counterparts in creating insulin-producing cells. Prof. Efrat says that this discovery promises to advance the development of cell replacement therapy for diabetics, possibly leading to an effective alternative to organ transplants.

His research, pursued with his PhD student Holger Russ and in collaboration with Prof. Nissim Benvenisty and Ori Bar-Nur from the Hebrew University, was recently published in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

Choosing adult over embryo

Diabetes is caused by the destruction of pancreatic beta cells, and the idea of using stem cells as a method of correcting this deficiency in diabetic patients is nothing new. Embryonic stem cells have been the preferred choice, since they can be easily grown in the lab in almost unlimited numbers, and can form any cell type in the body.

"But turning them into pancreatic beta cells is not an easy task," says Prof. Efrat, who notes that the process has remained inefficient despite a long struggle for improvement. Instead, he was inspired to test the efficiency of pluripotent stem cells that were derived from adult insulin-producing cells themselves.

"When generated from human beta cells, pluriponent stem cells maintain a 'memory' of their origins, in the proteins bound to their genes," says Prof. Efrat. As though receiving a prompt from their past life, the cells already have some understanding of their purpose, making them more efficient in generating beta cells.

Avoiding the transplant list

Today, diabetics can opt for an organ transplant to replace damaged pancreatic beta cells, but that is a long and arduous road, limited by a shortage of organ donors, and patients can wait years. Currently, Prof. Efrat notes, the ratio of donors to potential recipients is about one to 1,000. A better option is sorely needed, and stem cells present a viable hope for the future.

The discovery made by Prof. Efrat and his fellow researchers was licensed to a start-up company that promotes the research and development of technology of innovative treatments for diabetes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ori Bar-Nur, HolgerA. Russ, Shimon Efrat, Nissim Benvenisty. Epigenetic Memory and Preferential Lineage-Specific Differentiation in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Derived from Human Pancreatic Islet Beta Cells. Cell Stem Cell, 2011; 9 (1): 17 DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2011.06.007

Cite This Page:

American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Stem cell 'memory' can boost insulin levels." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110713121426.htm>.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. (2011, July 14). Stem cell 'memory' can boost insulin levels. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110713121426.htm
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Stem cell 'memory' can boost insulin levels." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110713121426.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins