Methods of Generating Insulin-Producing Cells

Description: A promising avenue of investigation for treatment of diabetes is that of islet cell transplantation. A variety of strategies are under investigation for the introduction into diabetic patients of functioning pancreatic islet cells, which can produce insulin and overcome the diabetic phenotype. Although some results have been encouraging, there have been no long-term successes with islet transplantation. Problems encountered to date include the need for patients to take immunosuppressive drugs, or problems associated with use of animal tissue or insufficient supply of human islet cells from cadavers. Other avenues involving human embryonic stem cells, while intriguing, may be hindered by recent government policies restricting some forms of stem cell research. The present invention overcomes these hurdles through the discovery that certain cell types from mature individuals can be induced to de-differentiate, so as to serve as precursor cells for the ultimate redifferentiation into mature, insulin-producing cells. This invention leads to a potential source of islet cells for transplantation that is not dependent upon animals or human embryonic stem cells. Clinical & Commercial Utility: The invention comprises an improved method for treatment of diabetes using islet cell transplantation. Using a cell type that has not previously been investigated for this purpose, cells from mature individuals can be induced to de-differentiate, and can then be driven to differentiate into functioning islet cells, for transplantation into diabetic patients.
A U.S. patent application claiming this invention has been filed.

Type of Offer: Licensing

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