Controlling Cells To Treat Diabetes

An important - albeit early stage - advance is noted in passing in this article:

Scientists at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have induced human insulin-producing cells of the pancreas to revert to islet precursor cells. These precursor cells are capable of expansion and appear to naturally and efficiently differentiate into clusters of islet-like cells. This work may help to clarify the natural lifecycle of the beta cell and may eventually have applications for diabetes treatment.

These sorts of applications are a natural consequence of understanding leading to control of cellular processes and life cycles. Learning how to revert cells to earlier, less differentiated forms is fairly high on the list of things scientists would like to be able to do. One of the ultimate goals is to create stem cells from any cell in the body, while another is to be able to repair age-related damage inside those newly created stem cells. The net result: a personalized biological repair kit to fix the damage of aging and disease.


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