University of Toronto researchers have identified individual cells in the adult mouse pancreas capable of generating insulin-producing beta cells.
Their research, published Aug. 22 in the online edition of Nature Biotechnology, offers hope for the millions of diabetics worldwide who take insulin injections to compensate for defective pancreatic islets. Healthy islets, made up largely of beta cells, release insulin to help regulate the bodys blood sugar levels.
"People have been intensely searching for pancreatic stem cells for a while now, and so our discovery of precursor cells within the adult pancreas that are capable of making new pancreatic cells is very exciting," says Simon Smukler, a PhD candidate in U of Ts Department of Medical Genetics and Microbiology, who was one of the lead researchers. He conducted the study along with U of T MD/PhD candidate Raewyn Seaberg and their supervisor, Professor Derek van der Kooy.
Elaine Smith | EurekAlert!
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