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A cure for Wolfram syndrome could lead to a cure for diabetes.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Stem cell-based therapy Q&A - Medical Use

Here is another question I often get.

Q: How can we use stem cells for the treatment of Wolfram syndrome and Type 1 diabetes.

A: Stem calls can differentiate into specific cell types including insulin-producing cells, retinal cells, and brain cells.  The most important function of stem cells, especially induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), is their potential use as "cell-based therapies." iPS cells are a type of stem cells derived from patients' own skin cells and could be used to repair damaged tissues. 

For patients with Type 1 diabetes, iPS cells could be prompted to differentiate into insulin-producing cells and transplanted into the body. The body wouldn't reject these new cells as they would with donated cells or tissues from other individuals (called immune rejection). 

For patients with Wolfram syndrome, iPS cells could be stimulated to differentiate into insulin-producing cells, eye cells, and brain cells and transplanted into the body. Insulin-producing cells could be transplanted under the skin. We need to find the best way to transplant eye cells and brain cells, and the research is ongoing to figure this out.

Thank you for reading this blog. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Kindly, Fumi Urano