Scientists Reprogram Cells to Fight Diabetes
Researchers have successfully "reprogrammed" certain cells to produce more insulin in the body, representing a potential genetic treatment for patients diagnosed with diabetes.
What's the Latest Development?
University of Pennsylvania researchers have successfully "reprogrammed" certain cells to produce more insulin in the body, representing a potential genetic treatment for patients diagnosed with diabetes. "For years researchers have been searching for a way to treat diabetics by reactivating their insulin-producing beta cells, with limited success. Turning related alpha cells into beta cells may one day offer a novel and complementary approach for treating type 2 diabetes. Treating human and mouse cells with compounds that modify cell nuclear material called chromatin induced the expression of beta cell genes in alpha cells."
What's the Big Idea?
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are not only caused by an insufficient amount of insulin (produced by beta cells) but also by an excess of glucagon (produced by alpha cells). "In theory, transplantation of healthy beta cells—for type 1 diabetics in combination with immunosuppression to control autoimmunity—should halt the disease, yet researchers have not yet been able to generate these cells in the lab at high efficiency, whether from embryonic stem cells or by reprogramming mature cell types." Researchers now reason that they might reprogram alpha cells towards the beta-cell phenotype to produce these much-needed insulin-producing cells.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.
While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.
We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.
Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.
Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.