The ISLET cell-therapy for Diabetes
Pluripotent stem cells are capable of making nearly all of the cells in our bodies, including pancreatic beta cells. By understanding how beta cells are made from these stem cells in early human development we have learnt to re-create this process in the lab. The result is that we can now make lab-grown beta cells, which have the potential to be used in a therapy for Type 1 Diabetes – our first generation therapy
In ISLET, though, we want to go beyond making just beta cells. In the pancreas, beta cells are located within the islets of Langerhans. These islets contain beta cells and glucagon-producing alpha cells – the main blood sugar regulators. The combination of these two cell types produce a more fine-tuned response to blood-sugar levels than beta cells alone. Again, beginning with pluripotent stem cells we are working out how to make functioning islet-like clusters of alpha and beta cells for cell therapy – our next generation therapy.