Cells from people with type 1 diabetes can be reprogrammed so that they produce insulin in response to glucose when implanted into mice. This suggests that patients with the disease could one day be treated with their own reprogrammed cells.
In previous work, Douglas Melton at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and his team took connective-tissue cells from healthy donors, reprogrammed them into stem cells and then grew β-cells, which make insulin in the pancreas. Now the team has done this using connective-tissue cells from people with type 1 diabetes. The β-cells derived from these patients were similar to those derived from healthy individuals — they prevented diabetes in mice that had lost their own β-cells, and responded to anti-diabetes drugs.