Stem cell-derived islet cells for transplantation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: The promise of islet transplantation for type 1 diabetes has been hampered by the lack of a renewable source of insulin-producing cells. However, steadfast advances in the field have set the stage for stem cell-based approaches to take over in the near future. This review focuses on the most intriguing findings reported in recent years, which include not only progress in adult and embryonic stem cell differentiation, but also the direct reprogramming of nonendocrine tissues into insulin-producing beta cells. Recent Findings: In spite of their potential for tumorigenesis, human embryonic stem (hES) cells are poised to be in clinical trials within the next decade. This situation is mainly due to the preclinical success of a differentiation method that recapitulates beta cell development. In contrast, adult stem cells still need one such gold standard of differentiation, and progress is somewhat impeded by the lack of consensus on the best source. A concerted effort is necessary to bring their potential to clinical fruition. In the meantime, reported success in reprogramming might offer a 'third way' towards the rescue of pancreatic endocrine function. Summary: Here we discuss the important strategic decisions that need to be made in order to maximize the therapeutic chances of each of the presented approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-82
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Organ Transplantation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • beta cell differentiation
  • human embryonic stem cells
  • induced pluripotent stem cells
  • islet transplantation
  • mesenchymal stem cells
  • reprogramming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation


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