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Diabetes | Overview


At Boston Children's Hospital, stem cell scientist George Daley, MD, PhD, led his team in creating 10 lines of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which are mature body cells that are reprogrammed to look and function like embryonic stem cells.

One of these lines was created from the cells of patients with Type I diabetes. Recently, Daley's team has developed a technology that can be used to induce these iPS cells to form T cells, which is one of the key cell types that mediate the initiation and progression of type I diabetes. Differentiation of patient-derived iPS cells into T cells in the lab allows scientists to recreate and dissect the mechanisms of T1D, and facilitates the development of novel therapies. 

In separate work, researchers at Boston Children’s and Harvard University have done experiments in which they converted a different, non-insulin producing pancreatic cell into an insulin-producing cell. This is the first major study to show it’s possible to convert one type of adult cell into another type of adult cell, possibly making the intermediary step of creating iPS cells unnecessary.