Regeneration of the Pancreas, Demonstrated in Mice

Amongst the fast track papers at Rejuvenation Research, there is one that describes a stem cell therapy for regenerating damage to the pancreas.

We demonstrate that intravenous delivery of human, or rat, pancreas-derived pathfinder (PDP) cells can totally regenerate critically damaged adult tissue and restore normal function across a species barrier.

One of the more interesting aspects of this demonstration is that rat or human pathfinder cells introduced into mice spur rapid regeneration that produces overwhelmingly mouse tissue rather than rat or human tissue - and all without causing immune issues. These "pathfinder cells" are a form of stem cell found in adult tissues; the name is a branding effort by the for-profit research group Pathfinder, LLC, and is aimed at distinguishing in the marketplace the exact form of stem cell they work with. This process of branding cell configurations or particular forms of cellular reprogramming is something we'll be seeing much more of in the future, no matter how irritating it may be to folk who are just trying to follow the science.

You might find the press release an easier read than the research paper:

the Company's unique cell-based therapy is able to completely reverse diabetes in a mouse model. ... With only two treatments with [pathfinder cells], just days after induction of diabetes, we were able to quickly regenerate critically damaged pancreatic tissue, restoring and maintaining normal glucose levels and healthy body weight. ... Immunohistochemical analyses of animal tissues confirmed [that] treatment lead to regeneration of pancreatic beta-cells and formation of functional islets, which displayed normal architecture. Further examination determined that the regenerated islets consisted overwhelmingly of mouse cells, and to a much lesser extent, donor [rat or human] PCs (0.05-0.18%).

Reading between the lines, I'm given to wonder whether these "pathfinder cells" are in fact much the same thing as the very small embryonic-like stem cells that another group claims to exist in most tissues in the body.

One group of researchers believe that every tissue in the body is supported by a left-over population of fully pluripotent stem cells [(PSCs)] that might be easily accessible for use in therapies. ... In this review we present an evidence that adult tissues contain remnants from development; a population of PSCs that is deposited in various organs as a backup for primitive stem cells, plays a role in rejuvenation of the pool of more differentiated tissue-committed stem cells (TCSCs), and is involved in organ regeneration. These cells share several markers with epiblast/germ line cells and have been named very small embryonic-like stem cells (VSELs).

If, as here, researchers are already demonstrating promising results with stem cell populations isolated from adult tissues, then it shouldn't be too many more years before these forms of stem cell are well classified (and given more sensible names).


best news I've heard all day!

Posted by: Will Nelson at March 30th, 2011 9:56 AM

Please let me know when the first human trial start for the Pathfinder pancreas damage rejuvenation - I will volunteer!

UW-Madison Medical Center is were I get my care.
Please do trials at UW-Madison Medical Center - USA

Posted by: roy e. ford at April 16th, 2011 7:52 PM

When and where are the trials?

Posted by: roy e. ford at June 25th, 2011 12:52 PM

Further examination determined that the regenerated islets consisted overwhelmingly of mouse cells, and to a much lesser extent, donor [rat or human] PCs (0.05-0.18%). Please, what is being said here??????

Posted by: Roy Ford at July 15th, 2011 8:00 AM

I am so excited this is the best news I have heard in 3 years. Sign me up and I will be ready!!!

Posted by: Anita Bischof at September 14th, 2011 2:04 PM

Please posted more news about pancreas damage repair!!!!!!!

Posted by: Roy E. Ford at October 29th, 2011 10:21 AM

Where do i sign up?

Posted by: Daniel A Dickson at November 3rd, 2011 5:27 AM

I think that this is the right way to cure diabetes type 2 and I could only hope that we will not wait to long before we can try it. Keep us updated... Thanks

Posted by: New guy at December 1st, 2011 5:00 AM

I'm concerned about the accessibility of this stem cell therapy and its cost and the processes of patenting- and all that jazz. There was a study at Boston University in 2003 when bone marrow stem cells were injected into the bloodstream of mice and there was a startlingly degree of pancreatic cure in them. Somehow these stem cells stimulated the dormant cells in the pancreas to begin reconstruction. There were four organs these stem cells would be attracted to and the pancreas was one of them. These stem cells would bypass healthy organs, but would find pathways into damaged organs and stimulate growth and regeneration of damaged tissue. In this study, one of the scientists suggested that since bone marrow stem cells had already been approved by the FDA that there would not be a restriction for anyone to try this therapy in humans.

Posted by: David Sugich at January 10th, 2012 6:47 PM

Ive been a diabetic almost 50 yrs, Im on the list for kidney transplant. After the trans plant could it be possible to get my pancrease to work again?

Posted by: Ernie Perea at October 19th, 2012 8:04 PM

As medical sciences reflect focus on certain organs I have noticed that liver organ has had much focus regarding many blood type illnesses and yet pancreatic science develpopements have little media focus and attention and yet it is an important fsactor in conjunction and with working withn liver functions. Both affect and compliment their workings and actions regarding blood regulation and behaviour patterns. I am glad to see research is becoming more prominent and would love to hear more because it's a science of understanding these two organs and their interactions that will propel and advance medical health sciences.

Posted by: PatOR at January 11th, 2015 6:50 PM
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