Beta Cell Replacement
Much recent work has focused on islet cell transplantation to replace failed beta cells in people with diabetes. Islet cell transplantation does not require invasive surgery. Currently, deceased donors provide the only sources of islets, limiting the use of this therapy. However, ongoing research is investigating the use of animal cells and stem cells, including adult stem cells that may be derived from the patient’s own body, to produce beta cells for transplant.
Association-funded researcher Diana Stanescu, M.D., at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, is investigating how beta cells normally develop into insulin-secreting cells and ways to apply that knowledge to improve the function of stem cell-derived beta cells. If successful, these new approaches will improve accessibility and success of clinical options to replace destroyed beta cells.