Developing an Unlimited Supply of Insulin-Producing Cells
A BioHub can provide an optimal environment and protection for insulin-producing cells -- but there must be enough cells to begin with.
Unfortunately, there are not enough – yet.
Currently, islet cells used for transplantation come from the pancreases of deceased donors. With organ donation in the U.S. at critically low levels – about 1,700 pancreases were available last year – there is clearly insufficient supply to treat the millions of children and adults living with diabetes.
At the DRI, researchers are pursuing several strategies to create an unlimited supply of insulin-producing islet cells. Read more about islet cells.
Reprogramming Cells (Transdifferentiation) – Transforming other cell types into insulin-producing cells
Stem Cells – Pushing pancreatic pre-cursor cells (stem cells) down the path to sense glucose and release insulin
At the DRI, several strategies are underway to produce an unlimited supply of insulin-producing cells for transplant into a BioHub.