Transforming Stem Cells into Diabetes Beaters 干细胞对立糖尿病
撰文/播音 Christopher Intagliata
One of the great promises of is to use a patient’s own cells as a template to build a real, working organ or tissue in the lab. One prime example: a treatment for by turning stem cells into working pancreatic beta cells, which release insulin.
"The existing beta cells that our lab and others had created were 90 percent of the way there. But 90 percent still means not functional." Ron Evans, a molecular biologist at the Salk Institute.
“咱们的和其他研讨组的试验室现存的β细胞可以到达实在细胞的90%。但是，90%依然缺乏以使到这些测验细胞可以正常起效。”索科生物研讨所(the Salk Institute)的分子生物学家，龙·埃文斯(Ron Evans)说。
Evans compares the stem-cell-derived beta cells they first made to a darkened room. "If you walk into that room, there may be everything in it that you need to be a complete room, with furniture and chairs and everything else. But it's dark. And the key is: what do you need to turn on the light?"
That light switch, Evans discovered, is a gene—called estrogen-related receptor gamma. Flip it on, and it activates a genetic circuit that ramps up mitochondria production, powers up the cell, and endows the almost-functional beta cells with the ability to sense glucose and release insulin in response.
埃文斯所发现的“灯开关”是一段被称为雌激素相关受体γ(estrogen-related receptor gamma)的基因。将它发动，就能接通一段基因回路，使到细胞内的线粒体全速运转，然后“点亮整个房间”——这些挨近彻底的细胞可以察觉到血糖的动摇，从而开释出胰岛素。
Evans's team recently used that trick to transform stem cells into beta cells that worked just like they would in a healthy pancreas. When they transplanted those cells into mice with a mouse version of diabetes, blood glucose fell to normal levels in half the rodents. The results are in the journal Cell Metabolism. [Eiji Yoshihara et al, ]
Next, Evans says he'll replicate the test in diabetic primates. "Primates get diabetes in a fashion that's very similar to people. So if it works in a primate, very high probability that it's going to work in people." If it does, we might someday replace a shot of insulin with a shot of cells.
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