Improving the quality of life
For patients with brittle diabetes
Langerghart Beta Cells
The pancreas functions as both an exocrine and endocrine organ. Exocrine acinar cells produce and secrete digestive enzymes that are transported by ducts to the small intestine. A very small percentage of pancreatic cells have endocrine function and secrete hormones. Pancreatic endocrine cells are found in small clusters called islets of Langerhans. Hormones produced by these cells include insulin, glucagon, and gastrin. Pancreatic cells are important for regulating blood glucose concentration levels as well as for the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Human islets and pancreas transplantation can significantly improve the quality of life of patients with brittle diabetes, but, to date, their widespread use is restricted due to organ scarcity and the lifelong administration of immunosuppressive drugs. The use of hESC-derived pancreatic cells as a surrogate for cadaveric material should undoubtedly eliminate the issues linked to donor shortage, whereas current innovation in the field of bioengineering and gene-editing methods for the development of universally immunocompatible hPSC source are paving the way to the development of materials and cells that could prevent immune-rejection.
Establishment of embryonic stem cell derived pancreatic cells is under development.