Glucose-Responsive, Insulin-Secreting Cells Produced from Embryonic Stem Cells

Scientists from the San Diego, California–based company Novocell successfully developed a primitive cell line from human embryonic stem cells that, when implanted into mice, was able to reverse chemically induced diabetes. JDRF partly funded the development of the stem cells lines used in this research, which was published in the journal Nature Biotechnology. The primitive cells, called pancreatic endoderm, started producing human insulin in the mice after one to three months. The cells were also shown to produce blood levels of C-peptide comparable to those seen in mice transplanted with about 3,000 isolated human islets, and to protect the mice from hyperglycemia.