Stem cells really have had an amazing year so far. Researchers have made great strides with what stem cells can do. The other day two more new experiments were reported.
In the first experiment a team from Georgetown University, used spermatogonial stem cells and turned them into pancreatic cells; the spermatogonial stem cells are ones that become sperm in men. The resulting pancreatic cells would not be exclusive to just men, however, because the technology can be used in female oocytes as well.
In the experiment, Ian Gallicano (head of the team), used “germ-derived pluripotent stem cells” (cells that have the ability to become any cells in the body) and in a lab used compounds that helped these cells turn into pancreatic beta cells. When transferred into diabetic mice the cells did indeed produce insulin and acted like the beta cells that the body destroys in patients with Type-1 diabetes. Currently there is no cure for the disease and those suffering from it must take insulin for life. A few people may be eligible for the “Edmonton Protocol” where the pancreatic cells are taken from cadavers, but obviously there are some problems with that method such as compatibility as well as a shortage of cadavers. This new method would certainly be a breakthrough and a life changer.