Stem cell researchers map new knowledge about insulin production

Scientists from The Danish Stem Cell Center (DanStem) at the University of Copenhagen and Hagedorn Research Institute have gained new insight into the signaling paths that control the body's insulin production. This is important knowledge with respect to their final goal: the conversion of stem cells into insulin-producing beta cells that can be implanted into patients who need them. The research results have just been published in the journal PNAS.

Insulin is a hormone produced by beta cells in the pancreas. If these beta cells are defective, the body develops diabetes. Insulin is vital to life and therefore today the people who cannot produce their own in sufficient quantities, or at all, receive carefully measured doses – often via several daily injections. Scientists hope that in the not-so-distant future it will be possible to treat diabetes more effectively and prevent secondary diseases such as cardiac disease, blindness and nerve and kidney complications by offering diabetes patients implants of new, well-functioning, stem-cell-based beta cells.

"In order to get stem cells to develop into insulin-producing beta cells, it is necessary to know what signaling mechanisms normally control the creation of beta cells during fetal development. This is what our new research results can contribute," explains Professor Palle Serup from DanStem.

"When we know the signaling paths, we can copy them in test tubes and thus in time convert stem cells to beta cells," says Professor Serup.

The new research results were obtained in a cooperative effort between DanStem, the Danish Hagedorn Research Institute and international partners in Japan, Germany, Korea and the USA. The scientific paper has just been published in the well-respected international journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) entitled Mind bomb 1 is required for pancreatic β-cell formation.

Better control of stem cells
The signaling mechanism that controls the first steps of the development from stem cells to beta cells has long been known.

"Our research contributes knowledge about the next step in development and the signaling involved in the communication between cells - an area that has not been extensively described. This new knowledge about the ability of the so-called Notch signaling first to inhibit and then to stimulate the creation of hormone-producing cells is crucially important to being able to control stem cells better when working with them in test tubes," explains Professor Palle Serup.

This new knowledge about the characteristics of the Notch signaling mechanism will enable scientists to design new experimental ways to cultivate stem cells so that they can be more effectively converted into insulin-producing beta cells.

Most Popular Now

BioMotiv and Bristol-Myers Squibb announce the lau…

BioMotiv, a mission-driven drug development accelerator associated with The Harrington Project for discovery and development, that advances breakthrough discoveries from ...

CEPI and GSK announce collaboration to strengthen …

CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and GSK announced a new collaboration aimed at helping the global effort to develop a vaccine for the 2019-nCoV...

Sandoz completes acquisition of Aspen's Japanese o…

Sandoz today announced that it has successfully completed the acquisition of the Japanese business of Aspen Global Incorporated (AGI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Aspen ...

Sanofi brain-penetrant BTK inhibitor meets primary…

The Sanofi Phase 2b study evaluating its investigational BTK (Bruton's tyrosine kinase) inhibitor (SAR442168), an oral, brain-penetrant, selective small molecule, achieve...

Roche reports very strong results in 2019

In 2019, Group sales rose 9% to CHF 61.5 billion and core EPS grew 13%, ahead of sales. The core operating profit increased 11%, reflecting the strong underlying business...

Novartis announces MET inhibitor capmatinib (INC28…

Novartis announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted and granted Priority Review to capmatinib’s (INC280) New Drug Application (NDA). Capmatinib is ...

Merck donates one billionth praziquantel tablet

Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced that it has already donated 1 billion tablets of praziquantel, the standard medication for the treatment ...

Bayer and Nuvisan create new research unit in Berl…

Bayer AG today announced that it entered into a definitive agreement to transfer a large part of its Berlin-based small molecule research unit to Nuvisan, an internationa...

FDA approves first drug for treatment of peanut al…

Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Palforzia [Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) Allergen Powder-dnfp] to mitigate allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, tha...

Can bilingualism protect the brain even with early…

A study by York University psychology researchers provides new evidence that bilingualism can delay symptoms of dementia. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of d...

Poliovirus therapy shows potential as cancer vacci…

A modified form of poliovirus, pioneered at Duke Cancer Institute as a therapy for glioblastoma brain tumors, appears in laboratory studies to also have applicability for...

Botanical drug is shown to help patients with head…

In a UCLA-led phase I clinical trial, a new plant-based drug called APG-157 showed signs of helping patients fight oral and oropharyngeal cancers. These cancers are locat...