Melton DA. 2011. Using stem cells to study and possibly treat type 1 diabetes. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences. 366(1575):2307-11. Pubmed: 21727136 DOI:10.1098/rstb.2011.0019


Stem cells with the potential to form many different cell types are actively studied for their possible use in cell replacement therapies for several diseases. In addition, the differentiated derivatives of stem cells are being used as reagents to test for drugs that slow or correct disease phenotypes found in several degenerative diseases. This paper explores these approaches in the context of type 1 or juvenile diabetes, pointing to recent successes as well as the technical and theoretical challenges that lie ahead in the path to new treatments and cures.

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Doug Melton is pursuing a cure for type 1 diabetes. His lab studies the developmental biology of the pancreas, using that information to grow and develop pancreatic cells (islets of Langerhans). In parallel, they investigate ways to protect beta cells from autoimmune attack.

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