At Children's Hospital Boston, stem cell scientist George Q. Daley, MD, PhD, led his team in creating 10 lines of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which are mature body cells that are reprogrammed to look and function like embryonic stem cells.
One of these lines was created from the cells of patients with Type I diabetes. Studying these iPS cells in the lab will give scientists a chance to learn more about how diabetes develops, and find new approaches to treating it.
In separate work, researchers at Children’s and Harvard University have done experiments in which they converted a different, non-insulin producing pancreatic cell into an insulin-producing cell. This is the first major study to show it’s possible to convert one type of adult cell into another type of adult cell, possibly making the intermediary step of creating iPS cells unnecessary.