Stanford University

Purification and Expansion of Candidate Human Pancreatic Progenitor Cells

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Researchers and physicians have developed a surgical transplantation method for diabetes treatment, a deadly metabolic disease. A practical limitation for this innovative strategy is limited supply of cadaveric cell sources. One way to solve this problem is to find the progenitors of beta-cells and the means to expand and direct them toward functional islet beta-cells.

To achieve this important goal, I propose to (1) establish ways to isolate human islet progenitors by Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting from fetal, juvenile and adult pancreas, (2) expand isolated human islet progenitors, (3) improve the differentiation environment where progenitors convert into insulin-producing islet cells in culture dish, and (4) test if transplantation of the expanded progenitors or insulin-producing islet cells can cure diabetes in an animal model. Results and experience from this work should accelerate creation of new sources of transplant-ready islets for Type 1 diabetes.