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New Stem Cell Implant Holds Hope For Diabetics


Aired 6/1/11

A new kind of stem-cell implant shows promising results for treatment in insulin-dependent diabetics.

— Think of the new device as a tea bag of sorts. Only this small bag is filled with cells derived from embryonic stem cells, that turn into pancreatic cells after they’re implanted under the skin.

Stem cell-derived islet cells. In this image, insulin producing cell is blue.
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Above: Stem cell-derived islet cells. In this image, insulin producing cell is blue.

Certain types of pancreatic cells produce insulin—a hormone needed to regulate blood sugar.

The implant is made by a San Diego based company ViaCyte Inc. The company’s president John West explained how the implant works.

“After implantation, these stem-cell derived cells are effectively growing into human cells of the pancreas, the organ which produces insulin, “ he said.

West said his company’s primary goal is to help Type 1 diabetics, who are typically children and young adults, and insulin dependent Type 2 diabetics.

“In diabetic individuals generally there is not enough insulin being produced, so this implant of young pancreatic cells will essentially provide additional cells that are capable of producing insulin,” said West.

In the last few years of research, hundreds of diabetic mice got the implant and no longer need insulin.

ViaCyte recently received $26 million from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. They hope to begin human clinical trials on the implant in 2013.

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Avatar for user 'enatai'

enatai | May 31, 2011 at 4:53 p.m. ― 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm a stem cell researcher and I his is a very exciting technology. I am hopeful of a cure for Type I Diabetes from stem cell research in the next decade, whether it is Viacyte or another company.
We talk about this stuff on my lab's blog

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Avatar for user 'Smith'

Smith | March 20, 2013 at 2:40 a.m. ― 4 years ago

As we know the use of stem cell is vast but, there is some demerits of it to. so people are eager to work on it and get some great results out of it. so lets see in future how stem cells can be a part of cancer and i am eager to get my hands on such field to.

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