• Science Saturday: A discovery step toward cell replacement therapy for diabetes

researcher in a laboratory examining specimen at microscope

In what could be a step toward cell replacement therapy for diabetes, Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered how to manufacture cells capable of generating a hormone that regulates low blood sugar. Quinn Peterson, Ph.D. and his team have developed a new method of mass producing a cell product containing the hormone glucagon that is capable of protecting against hypoglycemia in animal models. Dr. Peterson’s research is published in Nature Communications.

“We now have the ability to manufacture large quantities of an important cell type that is necessary to prevent hypoglycemia and regulate blood glucose in patients with diabetes. Generating pancreatic cell types from renewable sources holds promise for cell replacement therapies for diabetes,” says Dr. Peterson, principal investigator.

Alpha cells in the pancreas produce glucagon, which is released to correct low blood sugar levels. However, in diabetes these alpha cells become dysfunctional, leaving patients susceptible to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Left untreated, hypoglycemia can cause a patient to fall into a coma and die.

Read the rest of the article on the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine blog.


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