As a contradiction to the previous study, researchers have identified beta cells can be new source of insulin-producing cells. It can be recalled that a 2004 research had found new beta cells could only come about through the division of existing beta cells.
The unrelated cells, called pancreatic duct cells, can differentiate into the insulin-producing cells.Although transplantation of beta cells from human donors has helped patients with type 1 diabetes get off insulin treatment, the results are only successful for a few years.
Lead researcher Susan Bonner-Weir, Ph.D., a senior investigator in the Section on Islet Transplantation and Cell Biology at the Joslin Diabetes Center and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School said,
“This means that there is a population of pancreatic cells that can be stimulated, either within the body or outside the body, to become new beta cells, the cells that are lacking in diabetes.”