A world-first study led by Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, has discovered an insulin regenerative pathway in pancreatic stem cells, a major breakthrough towards new therapies to treat type 1 and type 1 diabetes. 2.
Using pancreatic stem cells from a type 1 diabetic donor, researchers were able to effectively reactivate them to become insulin-expressing cells and functionally resemble beta-like cells through the use of a drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration but not currently licensed for the treatment of diabetes.
Although it requires further work, the new approach would in principle replace the insulin-producing cells (beta cells) that are destroyed in type 1 diabetics with insulin-producing cells from the newborn.
The study, led by diabetes experts Professor Sam El-Osta, Dr Keith Al-Hasani and Dr Ishant Khurana, from Monash’s Diabetes Department, could lead to a potential treatment option for insulin-induced diabetes. addict who is diagnosed in seven Australian children every day resulting in lifelong blood sugar testing and daily insulin injections, to replace the insulin no longer produced by a damaged pancreas.
As the number of diabetes cases worldwide approaches 500 million, researchers are scrambling for a limited pool of treatments of uncertain effectiveness.
“We view the research as novel and an important step towards the development of new therapies,” Professor El-Osta said. To restore insulin expression in a damaged pancreas, researchers had to overcome a series of challenges because the diabetic pancreas was often considered too damaged to heal.
The results are now published in the journal Nature, Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy
According to Professor El-Osta, by the time an individual is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a large portion of their pancreatic beta cells, which produce insulin, have been totally destroyed. These studies show that “the diabetic pancreas is not incapable of expressing insulin” and the proof-of-concept experiments “address unmet medical needs in type 1 diabetes”.
Advances in the genetics of diabetes have brought “a better understanding and with it a renewed interest in the development of potential therapies”, Professor El-Osta said.
“Patients rely on daily insulin injections to replace what would have been produced by the pancreas. Currently, the only other effective therapy requires pancreatic islet transplantation and although this has improved health outcomes for people with diabetes, transplantation relies on organ donors, so it has limited widespread use. said Professor El-Osta.
Study co-author Dr Al-Hasani says that as we face an aging population globally and the challenges of increasing numbers of type 2 diabetes that are strongly correlated with the rise in obesity, the need for a cure for diabetes becomes more urgent. said Dr. Al-Hasani. “Before reaching the patients, there are many issues to be resolved,” Dr Al-Hasani said. “Further work is needed to define the properties of these cells and establish protocols to isolate and grow them,” he added. “I think the therapy is quite far, however, it represents an important step on the way to designing a sustainable treatment that could be applicable to all types of diabetes.”
Professor El-Osta, Drs Al-Hasani and Khurana have developed a revolutionary method to regenerate insulin cells without the ethical concerns typically associated with embryonic stem cells.
Read the full article in the journal Nature, Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy titled: Inhibition of pancreatic EZH2 restores progenitor insulin in T1D donor