Insulin-producing cells can regenerate in diabetic mice

Discovery suggests potential treatment strategy for type 1 diabetes

12:49pm, April 4, 2010

Replacements for some diabetics’ missing insulin-producing cells might be found in the patients’ own pancreases, a new study in mice suggests.

Alpha cells in the pancreas can spontaneously transform into insulin-producing beta cells, researchers from the University of Geneva in Switzerland report online in Nature April 4. The study, done in mice, is the first to reveal the pancreas’s ability to regenerate missing cells. Scientists were surprised to find that new beta cells arose from alpha cells in the pancreas, rather than stem cells.

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