“Stem Cell-Derived Islets: A Promising Solution for Diabetes Treatment“
Stem cell differentiation provides a renewable source of functional cells and tissues to treat diseases like diabetes, caused by the death or dysfunction of insulin-secreting islets in the pancreas. By combining actin cytoskeleton modulation and signal transduction pathway control during differentiation, we’ve produced SC-islets capable of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. We’ve also produced SC-islets from diabetic patients and corrected diabetes-causing mutations. Upon transplantation into mice with severe diabetes, these SC-islets rapidly restored normoglycemia and maintained the cure for a year. Our goal is to eventually use this technology to replace unhealthy islets in patients and provide a better disease model for new drug discovery.
Jeffrey Millman is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering at Washington University School of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. from MIT and completed his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Douglas Melton at Harvard University. His current research is focused on synergizing both biomedical engineering and cell biology approaches to use stem cells for the study and treatment of diabetes. He is developing new approaches for the differentiation of insulin-producing islets from stem cells and improving their utility for cell replacement therapy and in vitro disease models. His innovations have been licensed to several biotechnology and startup companies in the diabetes space and resulted in one ongoing clinical trial. His laboratory is supported by the NIH NIDDK and JDRF, and his scholarship has been recently recognized by awards from the JDRF, American Institute of Chemical Engineering, and the Biomedical Engineering Society.