The 'memories' of stem cells generated from adult cells is being used by a team of researchers from Tel Aviv University to bring new hope to sufferers of juvenile or type 1 diabetes.
Prof. Shimon Efrat of TAU's Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, said these 'induced pluripotent stem cells', derived from adult cells, represent an embryonic-like state.
To some degree, he found, the cells retain a "memory" of what they once were - when created from pancreatic beta cells, the cells responsible for the production of insulin, these pluripotent cells prove more efficient than their embryonic counterparts in creating insulin-producing cells.
Prof. Efrat says that this discovery promises to advance the development of cell replacement therapy for diabetics, possibly leading to an effective alternative to organ transplants.
The study was recently published in the journal Cell Stem Cell.