Researchers at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute have used small molecules and proteins to coax human pluripotent stem cells to become insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cells in vitro (Pagliuca FW et al. Cell. 2014;159:428-439).
The research team’s novel differentiation protocol can generate hundreds of millions of cells that express markers found in mature pancreatic beta cells, package insulin into secretory granules, and secrete insulin in response to glucose challenges.
Hampton T. Generating Pancreatic Beta Cells. JAMA. 2014;312(21):2202. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.16225