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Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Fully functional pancreatic cells created from skin cells

Functioning human pancreatic cells after they’ve been transplanted into a mouse. [Image: Saiyong Zhu/Nature Communications]
Scientists from University of California, San Francisco have successfully converted human skin cells to fully functional pancreatic cells. The research has been published recently in the journal Nature Communications that had presented significant advancement in cellular programming technology that allowed scientists efficiently scale up pancreatic cell production and to manufacture trillions of target cells in step-wise controlled manner.

The new cells produced insulin in response to change in glucose levels, and as transplanted into mice it was observed that cells protected mice from developing diabetes. The result produced a first time attempt to produce successful and functional pancreatic cells. This new research would definitely help to open gates of opportunity to analyze on patient specific pancreatic beta cell property and optimization of cell therapy approaches.


Researchers first used pharmaceutical and genetic properties to reprogram skin cells into endoderm progenitor cells – early developing cells have already been assigned to mature into different type of organs. With the help this method scientists can able to generate pancreatic cells faster. On addition to four more molecules the endoderm cells start dividing rapidly, allowing more than a trillion fold expansion. Critically, cells did not display any sign of tumour formation and they grew to maintain early organ specific cells.

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