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[IP] Stem cells reverse mouse diabetes

Researchers say tests in human cells are already underway
By MStemaggie Fox REUTERS

Feb. 28 — Scientists said Monday they had used stem cells — “master cells”
that are the source of new cells in the body — to reverse diabetes in mice.
They said their experiment is a first demonstration that the cells are as
valuable as people had said they would be in treating disease.

One example that comes up over and over again from those who are pressing for
more stem cell research is its potential to treat diabetes.
Dr. Ammon Peck and colleagues at the University of Florida say they have
finally shown it.
Writing in the journal Nature Medicine, they said they isolated stem cells
from the pancreases of mice, got them to grow, transplanted them into diabetic
mice and showed they worked to produce insulin.

Dr. Desmond Schatz, a professor of pediatrics and a diabetes expert at
Florida, who worked on the experiment, said.
“Here the potential is you can take stem cells, grow them up, and they grow
into islets that are capable of reversing disease.”
Schatz said scientists had known that the islet cells come from cells known as
pancreatic ductal epithelial cells.
They took some of these cells and grew them in a culture.

“The next step is take this into humans,” Schatz said. “In preliminary
experiments it appears that we can take human pancreatic duct cells and show
that they can differentiate into islet cells as well.”
Schatz said the source of the stem cells was organ donors — people who have
died of various causes and donated their organs.
“This paper emphasizes the enormous potential of stem cell therapy,” David
Sachs and Susan Bonner-Weir of Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston said in a

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