Cell Lines From Human Embryonic Stem Cells Can Give Rise to Beta-Like Cells

The use of human pluripotent stem cells for laboratory studies and cell-based therapies is hampered by their tumor-forming potential and limited ability to generate pure populations of the desired cell types (such as beta cells) in the lab. To address these issues, the authors established progenitor cell lines from human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. Optimized growth conditions were established that allow near unlimited cell self-renewal. Upon manipulation of their culture conditions in the lab or transplantation into mice, derived cells differentiate into numerous cell types, including glucose-responsive pancreatic beta cells. Importantly, these progenitor cells are nontumorigenic in whole animals. Thus, these progenitor cells represent a potentially safe source of beta cells for transplantation therapies (such as encapsulation products).


Cheng X, Ying L, Lu L, Galvão AM, Mills JA, Lin HC, Kotton DN, Shen SS, Nostro MC, Choi JK, Weiss MJ, French DL, Gadue P. Self-renewing endodermal progenitor lines generated from human pluripotent stem cells. Cell Stem Cell. April 2012; 6;10(4):371-84.

Investigators and Institutions:

This work was conducted by Dr. Paul Gadue and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ramifications for Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes:

Human embryonic stem cells represent an alternative replenishable cell source to make transplantable beta cells.

JDRF Involvement:

This work was supported in part by JDRF (post-doctoral fellowship to one of the authors).