Hope for diabetes patients as scientists reprogramme stem cells from LOVE HANDLES.
DIABETES sufferers have been handed hope of a new treatment after scientists reprogrammed stem cells from “love handles” so they produce badly needed insulin.
Researchers in Basel, Switzerland, made the break-through after extracting stem cells from a 50-year-old’s fatty tissue and genetically altering them.
Details of the discovery were published in the journal Nature Communications. The report showed how researchers took immature stem cells and added a highly complex synthetic network of genes.
This network was designed to recreate the key growth factors as the cells mature.
Lead researcher Martin Fussenegger, professor of biotechnology and bioengineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, said it was essential to reproduce natural processes as closely as possible to make the beta cells function.
“The timing and the quantities of these growth factors are extremely important,” he said, adding that until now, scientists have added various chemicals and proteins using pipettes to stem cells.
“It’s not only really hard to add just the right quantities of these components at just the right time, it’s also inefficient and impossible to scale up,” he said. In contrast, the new process could successfully transform three out of four fatty tissue stem cells into beta cells.
However, more work is needed to get the beta cells to produce as much insulin as natural beta cells. And the cells have not yet been transplanted into a patient, he said.
Source: The Express