D iabetes develops when pancreatic beta cells are no longer capable of releasing the amounts of insulin needed to regulate blood glucose. It reduces the quality of life and increases the risks of serious complications for more than 170 million people worldwide. In Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.
O ne of the biggest problems faced by islet transplantation is the lack of donors. Instead of using donor cells, new beta cells could be grown from stem cells and used in replacement therapy. Human ASP stem cells could be differentiate into immature beta cells for transplantation into a diabetes patient, where it is hoped the cells would mature and produce insulin.