Researchers led by Professor Sheng Ding University from the Gladstone Institutes in California may have discovered a cure for diabetes after revealing that they have managed to convert ordinary skin cells into insulin producing pancreatic cells.
The researchers made use of skin cells, known as fibroblasts, taken from mice and through a step-by-step technique; they were able to transform them into immature precursors to pancreatic beta cells, which produce insulin.
After injecting these cells into a group of mice that were genetically engineered to mimic the symptoms of diabetes, the researchers found that their blood sugar levels were back to normal.
"Previous attempts to produce large quantities of healthy beta cells - and to develop a workable delivery system - have not been entirely successful. So we took a somewhat different approach. These results not only highlight the power of small molecules in cellular reprogramming, they are proof-of-principle that could one day be used as a personalized therapeutic approach in patients", Dr Ding said.