Logo for University of Iowa Health Care This logo represents the University of Iowa Health Care

New cells may help treat diabetes: UI group creates insulin-producing cells that normalize blood-sugar levels in diabetic mice

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Starting from human skin cells, researchers at the University of Iowa have created human insulin-producing cells that respond to glucose and correct blood-sugar levels in diabetic mice. The findings may represent a first step toward developing patient-specific cell replacement therapy for type 1 diabetes. 

In the new study, published Jan. 28 in the journal PLOS ONE, the UI team led by Nicholas Zavazava, internal medicine professor, reprogrammed human skin cells to create induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which were then coaxed into forming insulin-producing cells. When these cells were transplanted into diabetic mice, the cells secreted insulin and reduced the blood sugar levels of the mice to normal or near-normal levels.

Read the complete article.