Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Possible stem cells in pancreas identified


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 body’s 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 T’s 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.

The scientists are now hoping to extend their research to prove that these precursor cells are truly stem cells. True stem cells must exhibit two properties: the ability to renew themselves over the entire life of the organism and some ability for the parent cell to generate varied cell types – for example islet cells and exocrine cells. Pancreatic stem cells could provide a plentiful supply of beta cells for transplant treatments.

A finding Smukler considers equally exciting is their discovery that these pancreatic cells generated both beta cells and neurons, cells associated with the workings of the brain and the nervous system.

"The existing dogma regarding how development occurs states that fairly early in development, there is a distinction made between a group of cells destined to make the brain and another group destined to make the pancreas," he says. "The idea that a single cell within the pancreas could make both beta cells and neurons is intriguing."

U of T has a proud history of both diabetes and stem-cell research. Frederick Banting and Charles Best discovered insulin here in the 1920s, while years later, Drs. Ernest McCulloch and James Till first described the stem-cell concept.

This study was supported by the Stem Cell Network and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. Zeenat Ashgar and Michael Wheeler from the U of T’s Department of Physiology, Grigori Enikolopov of New York’s Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Stem Cell Network members Timothy Kieffer of the University of British Columbia and Gregory Korbutt of the University of Alberta also contributed to the research.

"This remarkable discovery is a case study in cross-Canada cooperation," says Dr. Ron Worton, Scientific Director of the Stem Cell Network. "The research offers considerable new hope for people living with diabetes."

Elaine Smith | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>