FUDiabetes

This genetic engineering project turns stem cells into mini organs

They picked livers: of course, they should have picked pancreases!

It is a really interesting paper because it appears to be a new approach to engineering organs from stem cells. First, they studied what genes would likely influence stem cells into developing as liver cells. Then they used CRISPRa to modify the stem cells so that the right genes would be in place. Then they grew the cells in vitro (Petri dish). They obtained mini livers (organelles).

When they injected the resulting mini livers into mice with liver disease, they saw an increase in mouse lifespan.

This is not so far from creating and injecting mini pancreases! Of course, they’d have to do it repeatedly, because we’ll keep on destroying them.

The original paper is here: https://www.cell.com/cell-systems/fulltext/S2405-4712(20)30420-8

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Yes, those darn mice keep getting cured. Lucky mice. And of course you point out the big problem with humans, in order to “cure” Type 1’s they are going to need to either hide the cells from the body’s immune system or modify the immune system of the Type 1 to not destroy the new cells. Difficult problem, surefire Nobel if you come up with the cure.

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There is some research concerning tolerogenic therapies for T1D, but there’s still a long way to go before any of that might benefit us.

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