A new study which has been conducted by researchers at the University of Copenhagen has shown that using human stem cells, insulin producing cells can be produced, which can be transplanted into patients suffering from diabetes in the coming years. The research group comprising wanted to study how the body can create complex piping systems for the transportation of gases and fluids to the organs. It was important to understand this piping system because these researchers wanted to get a fair idea of the machinery so as to instruct the progenitor itself to go to different destinations.
Surprisingly, the mechanism turned out to be a very simple one. It has been found that these processes are just controlled by the progenitor’s ability to differentiate from up and down or polarity. The same signal can control both, the formation of pipes and beta cells via polarity changes. The development of pancreatic progenitor into beta cells has been found to be dependent on the orientation of the pipes.
Thus, it has been concluded that by a very simple mechanism of affecting the polarity of the progenitor cells, the conversion into Beta cells can be controlled, stated Pia Nyeng. The researchers performed tests on mice but have also examined whether the same mechanism can be applied on human cells. Zarah Löf-Öhlin and others involved in the study have discovered that thankfully the same mechanism of cell maturation can be applied to the development of human cells.
Therefore this knowledge can now be used to efficiently turn human stem cells into beta cells in labs and hopefully this can be used to replace the lost beta cells in patients who are suffering from diabetes. cell polarity is expected to be the key for the development of various other human cell types such as nerve cells and may actually contribute to the development of stem cell therapy which are targeted at various other diseases.