New hope for stem cell approach to treating diabetes – Washington University Study

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have tweaked the recipe for coaxing human stem cells into insulin-secreting beta cells and shown that the resulting cells are more responsive to fluctuating glucose levels in the blood. Here, the new beta cells appear red as they secrete insulin in response to glucose.
Credit: Millman lab, Washington Universityientists working to develop more effective treatments for diabetes are turning to stem cells. Such cells can be transformed into cells that produce insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar.

But there’s a major challenge: the amount of insulin produced by theses cells is difficult to control.

Now, by tweaking the recipe for coaxing human stem cells into insulin-secreting beta cells, a team of researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has shown that the resulting cells are more responsive to fluctuating glucose levels in the blood.


When they transplanted the beta cells into mice that could not make insulin, the new cells began secreting insulin within a few days, and they continued to control blood sugar in the animals for months.

The new study is published Jan. 17 in the journal Stem Cell Reports.

“We’ve been able to overcome a major weakness in the way these cells previously had been developed. The new insulin-producing cells react more quickly and appropriately when they encounter glucose,” said principal investigator Jeffrey R. Millman, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine and of biomedical engineering. “The cells behave much more like beta cells in people who don’t have diabetes.”

The researchers now believe it may be time to evaluate whether the same stem-cell approach could produce insulin and effectively control blood sugar in people.

Millman was a part of a research team at Harvard that, in 2014, converted skin cells into stem cells and, in 2016, did the same thing with skin cells from a patient with diabetes. Each time, the stem cells were then treated with various growth factors to coax them into insulin-secreting beta cells. The beta cells, however, didn’t work as well as the researchers had hoped.

“Previously, the beta cells we manufactured could secrete insulin in response to glucose, but they were more like fire hydrants, either making a lot of insulin or none at all,” he said. “The new cells are more sensitive and secrete insulin that better corresponds to the glucose levels.”

For this study, Millman’s laboratory still grew beta cells from human stem cells, but they made numerous changes to the “recipe” for producing insulin-producing beta cells, treating the cells with different factors at different times as they grew and developed to help the cells mature and function more effectively.

After that process was complete, the researchers transplanted the beta cells into diabetic mice with suppressed immune systems so that they wouldn’t reject the human cells. Those transplanted cells produced insulin at levels that effectively controlled blood sugar in the mice, functionally curing their diabetes for several months, which, for most of the mice in the study, was about the length of their lives.

As laboratory researcher rather than a clinician, Millman said he can’t predict exactly when such cells may be ready for human trials but believes there are at least two ways that stem cell-derived beta cells could be tested in human patients.

“The first would be to encapsulate the cells in something like a gel — with pores small enough to prevent immune cells from getting in but large enough to allow insulin to get out,” he said. “Another idea would be to use gene-editing tools to alter the genes of beta cells in ways that would allow them to ‘hide’ from the immune system after implantation.”

Millman said that if stem cell-derived beta cells are proven safe and effective for people with diabetes, his method of manufacturing the cells quickly could be ramped up to an industrial scale. In his laboratory alone, his team is able to grow and develop more than a billion beta cells in just a few weeks.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Washington University School of MedicineNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Leonardo Velazco-Cruz, Jiwon Song, Kristina G. Maxwell, Madeleine M. Goedegebuure, Punn Augsornworawat, Nathaniel J. Hogrebe, Jeffrey R. Millman. Acquisition of Dynamic Function in Human Stem Cell-Derived β CellsStem Cell Reports, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2018.12.012



Groundbreaking IV Therapy Now Available At Stem Cell Miami

A note from Ingrid Machado, CEO of Stem Cell Miami:

With this article, I’d like to introduce you to Robert Jacobson, M.D., who is part of our “team of experts” at Stem Cell Miami.  Dr. Jacobson is a neurosurgeon with more than thirty years of clinical experience, author of numerous professional articles, holder of multiple medical patents, former U.S. Army medical officer, and dedicated educator.  In this article, Dr. Jacobson discusses how IV Therapy is used by other physicians at Stem Cell Miami to treat a wide range of conditions and promote overall health.

In the last decade, life expectancy has been getting longer and people have become more active. As a result, people are focusing more on healthier living and prevention. So what can we do?  Clearly, exercise, healthy eating or taking vitamins have benefits but we can also have early and more advanced health problems because of heredity, poor health secondary to smoking or obesity or development of other medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, various autoimmune conditions and cancer. Patients are looking at options to maintain good health, correct disease in early stages or reverse underlying risk problems before they cause irreversible changes in their body. Many athletes and professional sports teams use IV Therapy to maintain peak performance. For the patient, using IV Therapy can be a part of this medical process to maintain and restore your health.


2018: A Very Successful Year at Stem Cell Miami By: Ingrid Machado CFO of Stem Cell Miami

2018: A Very Successful Year at Stem Cell Miami

By: Ingrid Machado  

CFO of Stem Cell Miami

As 2018 is coming to an end, we are extremely happy to report that throughout this entire year we have seen exceptional results in the clinical application of our signature Regenerative Medicine Treatments at our acclaimed Stem Cell Miami Institute with now over 8000 procedures successfully completed up to date!

In 2018, not only did we continue to successfully increase the number of autologous Stem Cell Procedures conducted, but we also surpassed our PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) applications, as well as fully employing our latest addition to our pain relief arsenal: Orthobiologics, a new innovative procedure that does not require any blood extraction or sedation. These new powerful placenta derived products have reliably proven to be extremely effective to control pain with many of our patients and regardless of their age. These new biological products have also been successfully used in conjunction with our premier PRP Treatments to create our signature powerful “cocktail” that has immensely improved overall results to treat a wide range of medical symptoms.


Stem Cells – A viable option to insure your life.

This week I am sharing with you a new version of an article that I published over a year ago, and based on the impressive results we have experienced in the last year, I continue to feel confident that stem cells are a magnificent option to “insure” your life.

A while back, I had a visit from Jose, a very respectable 76 year old gentleman that was looking for second opinion on the possibility to use stem cells to cure his debilitating leuchemia. His bone marrow stem cells had simply stopped working y he continued to have a recuction in red & white cell blood count, as well as his plateletets. He had already consulted with the Oncology departments at various local hospitals, but none had offered the option of a stem cell transplant.


Boitechnology & Stem Cells

Recently I read a very interesting article on biotechnology, specifically on the use of a new type of technology that mimics the functioning of vital organs such as the lung, heart, or brain and that could be effectively used to test new medications. The article basically concluded that this innovative method could be better and more effective than using a traditional petri dish or even experimenting on animals.

Pharmaceutical companies consistently lose millions of dollars every year in research studies that often fail. In most cases, problems usually arise in the early phases of the study, in which companies must clearly demonstrate that the new drug is safe and performs to high standards. After investing millions of dollars in designing the study and recruiting clinical research teams etc., the “new promise” yields negative side-effects, resulting in the project being ultimately canceled and the millions of dollars invested in such research endeavor being completely wasted.

Last year, I wrote an article on how we can potentially culture (or farm) stem cells in order to simulate an organ instead of sacrificing laboratory animals or using petri dish samples. Stem cells have the amazing capability to transform into multiple tissues, a feature called pluripotentiality. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies and research-oriented universities continue to turn away from the potential of stem cells, particularly to conduct research studies and I often ask myself: “Why is that?” Among some of the possible answers, we can mention the refusal of the Supreme Court of the United States to allow companies to patent human cells, which basically eliminates the possibility of exclusivity from other distributors. Another probable reason is that stem cells cannot be concentrated into a pill, which proves to be more of a hassle to produce and thus, often also less cost-effective.

While research on stem cells is relatively new (which basically limits our overall knowledge), several other factors tend to complicate matters even further, particularly the fact that there is not just one type of stem cell. Aside from the stem cells in our body, there are also cells found in the placenta, umbilical cord blood, and embryo (a type of stem cell which we do not use and that also often carries a lot of moral & religious related stigma).

At the moment, I strongly continue working with the concept of pluripotentiality of adult autologous stem cells, and often marvel at seeing the incredible improvements in thousands of my patients, many of which first came to me with problems seemingly “unsolvable” by modern medicine.Take the example of Mary M, with problems in both knees since 2000, who had arthroscopic surgery in 2004 with no positive resolution. Mary refused knee replacement surgery and was at a loss until she heard of stem cells through some of my articles. She came to see me in April of this year and decided to use her own marrow and fat cells in a transplant. Seven months later, Mary is still amazed by the incredible improvements in both her knees and also in the tendons around them. Today, she is almost 95% improved, and is now able to walk, climb stairs, and even do daily chores & activities at home that she was unable to perform for the last 10 years. Her husband is also extremely pleased with her results and very grateful to see her so happy!

For more information or if you want a  consultation with StemCell Miami, call us at (305) 598-7777.

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