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Pediatr Res. 2006 Apr;59(4 Pt 2):65R-73R.

The potential for stem cell therapy in diabetes.

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Larry Hillblom Islet Research Center, University of California Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine, 90095, USA.


Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are characterized by a marked deficit in beta-cell mass causing insufficient insulin secretion. Beta-cell replacement strategies may eventually provide a cure for diabetes. Current therapeutic approaches include pancreas and islet transplantation, but the chronic shortage of donor organs restricts this treatment option to a small proportion of affected patients. Moreover, recent evidence shows a progressive decline in beta-cell function after islet transplantation so that most patients have to revert to insulin treatment within a few years. In this article recent progress in the generation, culture and targeted differentiation of human embryonic stem (ES) cells is reviewed, and some of the issues surrounding their use as a source of beta-cells are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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