Scalable amounts of liver and pancreas precursor cells created using new stem cell production method

December 02, 2011

Scientists in Canada have overcome a key research hurdle to developing regenerative treatments for diabetes and liver disease with a technique to produce medically useful amounts of endoderm cells from human pluripotent stem cells. The research, published in Biotechnology and Bioengineering, can be transferred to other areas of stem cell research helping scientists to navigate the route to clinical use known as the 'valley of death'.

"One million people suffer from type 1 diabetes in the United States, while liver disease accounts for 45,000 deaths a year," said Dr Mark Ungrin from the University of Toronto. "This makes stem cells, and the potential for regenerative treatments, hugely interesting to scientists. Laboratory techniques can produce thousands, or even millions, of these cells, but generating them in the numbers and quality needed for medicine has long been a challenge."

The research focused on the process of using pluripotent stem cells (PSC) to generate endoderm cells, one of the three primary germ layers which form internal organs including the lungs, pancreas, and liver. The ability to differentiate, or transform, PSCs into endoderm cells is a vital step to developing regenerative treatments for these organs.

"In order to produce the amount of endoderm cells needed for treatments it is important to understand how cells behave in larger numbers, for example how many are lost during the differentiation process and if all the cells will differentiate into the desired types," said Ungrin.

The team stained cells with fluorescent dye and as the cells divided, the dye was shared equally between the divided cells. By measuring the fluorescence of cell populations at a later stage the team were able to work out the frequency of cell division, which allowed them to predict how many cells would be present in a population at any given time.

This technique allowed the team to detect cell inefficiencies and develop a new understanding of the underlying cell biology during the differentiation of PSCs. This allowed the team to increase effective cell production 35 fold.

"Our results showed significant increases in the amount of endoderm cells generated," said Ungrin. "This new concept allows us to scale up the production of useful cells, while ensuring PSC survival and effective differentiation."

Overcoming this bottleneck in research will also help future stem cell researchers navigate the often long and challenging route from laboratory testing to clinical use, and accelerate the time from biomedical advance to beneficial therapy, often referred to as the bench-to-bedside process.

"Most research in this field focuses on the purity of generated cell populations; the efficiency of differentiation goes unreported," concluded Dr Ungrin. "However our research provides an important template for future studies of pluripotent stem cells, particularly where cells will need to be produced in quantity for medical or industrial uses."
-end-


Wiley

Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.