Islet transplantation is an effective cell therapy for type 1 diabetes (T1D) but its clinical application is limited due to shortage of donors. After a decade-long period of exploration of potential alternative cell sources, the field has only recently zeroed in on two of them as the most likely to replace islets. These are pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) (through directed differentiation) and pancreatic non-endocrine cells (through directed differentiation or reprogramming). Here we review progress in both areas, including the initiation of Phase I/II clinical trials using human embryonic stem cell (hESc)-derived progenitors, advances in hESc differentiation in vitro, novel insights on the developmental plasticity of the pancreas, and groundbreaking new approaches to induce β cell conversion from the non-endocrine compartment without genetic manipulation.
- Human embryonic stem cells
- Pancreatic regeneration
- β cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism