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Another New Publication on DRI's Work in Stem Cell Development

by Diabetes Research Institute on Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 10:30 am on T1 Diabetes Cure - Global Headquarters and Diabetes Research Institute Facebook pages.

Good Morning! On the heels of our posts and discussions the past two weeks, we wanted to share another new publication on our work in stem cell development – which, as you know, has the enormous potential to create a limitless supply of insulin-producing cells to restore natural insulin production.

Adding to their arsenal of proteins used to change a cell's job or "reprogram" its function, DRI investigators reported on their results using a slightly modified protein, this one known as TAT-MafA. The study appears in the most recent issue of the Public Library of Science One (PLoS One) and can be seen here:

The MafA protein is involved in the final stages of maturation of the insulin-producing beta cell during its development.  In the study, our scientists discovered that delivering MafA proteins into an embryo of a pregnant mouse resulted in a much faster maturation of their beta cells . The pancreas of the newborn pups also had twice as much insulin as the control animals, and their islets were bigger, better formed, and overall, exhibited traits of better functioning islets.

This work, involving the purification of key proteins (TAT-Ngn3 and TAT-Pdx1) which are vital to the development of the endocrine (insulin producing) portion of the pancreas, began a few years ago.  Read the initial press release here:

By adding a small modification to these proteins (the TAT component), we have been able to effectively deliver these proteins to live cells with 100% efficiency. Once inside the cell, they have been shown to direct their differentiation (growth) towards becoming part of the pancreas. In addition to their potential application to stem cell differentiation (work that is presently underway), DRI scientists plan to deliver several of these proteins at once to induce a phenomenon termed “tissue reprogramming”, by which they aim at effectively converting the exocrine (non-islet) part of the pancreas into insulin-producing beta cells.

This research was designed to test how effective TAT-MafA could be in directing beta cell development. The pregnant mouse model allowed us the opportunity to introduce the protein into live embryos while in the womb. After the delivery of the protein, the mice continued to term and then we examined their pancreas. There was no other effect whatsoever either in the mother or the pups.



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