Scientists may have moved a step closer to developing a potential new treatment for diabetes, by finding that human liver cells can be transformed into something like the beta cells that produce insulin in a healthy pancreas. Sarah Ferber of the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Israel, says that the new findings have enabled her research team to implant these cells into diabetic monkeys. The researcher said that she and her colleagues basically want to take liver cells from people with diabetes, reprogram the cells, and reinject them. She says that the fact that they are the patient's own makes her believe that the cells should escape rejection by the immune system, sparing the individual a lifetime of daily insulin injections. "Potentially, patients can be donors of their own therapeutic tissue," New Scientist magazine quoted her as saying. Sarah says that her most recent study has provided more insights into how the Pdx-1 gene-crucial for the creation of the pancreas in the embryo-operates, something that may eventually help them design a human treatment. By repeating the experiment and analyzing the changes in gene expression as liver cells are transformed, the team showed that the gene deactivates a range of genes relevant to the cell's function in the liver, as well as activating unexpressed genes vital for beta cell function. Sarah says that improving the scientific understanding of this dual ability, which probably arises from the role Pdx-1 plays in the embryo, where pancreas and liver tissue develop from the same family of cells, may be important in predicting how the cells might act if they are implanted into people. She has also revealed that the technique works best in liver cells that are in the process of multiplying, and that her team have identified liver regions where dividing cells are more common, which should make reprogramming liver cells more efficient. Sarah and her colleagues are currently searching for the best place for a transplant, but they see the liver and the omentum-the sac lining the abdomen-as leading candidates. She recently made a presentation on her team's work at an International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) meeting in Barcelona, Spain.Source: ANISRM << Knowing Peers' Actual Drinking Habits Curbs Student Alcohol... Noise Pollution Linked To Heart Attack, High Blood Pressure... >> Recommended Reading Diabetes A comprehensive article on diabetes - both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, including : causes, signs, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, facts and a glossary on diabetes. READ MORE Gestational diabetes The condition is not caused by a lack of insulin, but by the action of hormones produced during pregnancy that blocks the action of insulin. READ MORE Blood Sugar-Conversion Our easy to use blood sugar calculator helps you to get your blood sugar conversion results either in mg/dl used by the American system or in mmol/l used by the British system, which is accepted worldwide. READ MORE Quiz on Pancreas Pancreas is both an endocrine and an exocrine organ. It secretes insulin, which is required for sugar breakdown. To learn more about the unique functions of the pancreas, engage in the following ... READ MORE Current Treatments for Liver Cancer Current Treatments for Liver Cancer (also known as hepatoma or hepatocellular carcinoma) can result in complete cure of the disease if it is detected early. READ MORE Fatty Liver Disease: A Growing Health Problem in India Non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the leading cause of liver dysfunction worldwide and is a rapidly growing health problem in India. READ MORE Hepatitis A Hepatitis A is the most benign of the hepatitis viruses and usually has no long term side effects. Hepatitis A vaccine is available that is 95% effective in preventing the disease. READ MORE Living Donor Liver Transplant: What Are the Risks? The risk of dying as a result of a living donor liver segment removal is between 0.2-2.0%. The risk of morbidity is anywhere between 1.3% (in highly experienced centers) to 60%. READ MORE Milk Thistle Milk Thistle is a resourceful natural plant which has many medicinal benefits. In herbal medication milk thistle is used in cases of liver diseases. READ MORE Wilson's Disease This is a rare inherited systemic disorder of copper metabolism, affecting the liver mainly before other organs. READ MORE Most Popular on Medindia Drug Interaction Checker Sanatogen Iron Intake Calculator More News on: Hepatitis AParkinsons Disease Surgical TreatmentLiverWilson's DiseaseMilk ThistleCurrent Treatments for Liver CancerFatty Liver Disease: A Growing Health Problem in IndiaLiving Donor Liver Transplant: What Are the Risks?