Pancreatic Stem Cells May Reverse Diabetes and Obesity

Timothy J. Kieffer Ph.D. | Professor Laboratory of Molecular & Cellular Medicine Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences Department of Surgery | Life Sciences Institute The University of British Columbia Vancouver BC Canada MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Timothy J. Kieffer
 Ph.D. | Professor
Laboratory of Molecular & Cellular Medicine
Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences
Department of Surgery | Life Sciences Institute
The University of British Columbia
Vancouver BC Canada

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Kieffer: Previously we have examined the therapeutic potential of pancreatic precursor cells derived from human stem cells for insulin replacement in models of type 1 diabetes (PMID: 22740171 & PMID: 23771205). Here we sought to test the efficacy of cell-based insulin replacement in a model of type 2 diabetes, which is by far the most common form of diabetes. Key aspects of type 2 diabetes could be mimicked in immunodeficient mice, namely hyperglycemia and insulin resistance accompanied by excess body weight, by placing the mice on high fat diets. These diabetic mice were transplanted with human stem cell derived pancreatic precursor cells contained within macroencapsulation devices. The diabetic setting did not negatively impact the ability of the transplanted cells to mature into insulin-producing cells. Moreover, the cell transplants were able to significantly improve glucose homeostasis, particularly when combined with low doses of traditional anti-diabetic drugs. Intriguingly, the combined therapy also induced weight loss, such that treated mice were similar in weight to control mice reared on a low fat diet.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Kieffer: Collectively, our studies raise the possibility that a cell based approach for insulin replacement may be a strategy to combat type 2 diabetes associated with obesity.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Kieffer: Recently, our collaborators at BetaLogics (part of Janssen R & D LLC) have developed a more advanced differentiation protocol that is scalable and produces more mature insulin secreting cells. With these cells, we can reverse hyperglycemia in a mouse model of type 1 diabetes much faster, and with ¼ the cell dose, compared to our previously generated pancreatic precursor cells (PMID: 25211370). It will be important to determine if these cells can more effectively reverse diabetes and obesity in our mouse model of type 2 diabetes, without the use of additional anti-diabetic drugs.

Citation:

Bruin JE, et al “Treating diet-induced diabetes and obesity with human embryonic stem cell-derived pancreatic progenitor cells and antidiabetic drugs” Stem Cell Reports 2015; 4: 1-16.

This study is published in Stem Cell Reports and available free online here:

http://www.cell.com/stem-cell-reports/abstract/S2213-6711(15)00067-3

 

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MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Timothy J. Kieffer Ph.D. | Professor (2015). Pancreatic Stem Cells May Reverse Diabetes and Obesity

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