July 7, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Diabetes Treatment

9 min read

When I think of the promise of stem cells for diabetes, the privately held California stem cell firm ViaCyte is the first biotech that comes to mind now. It has promising stem cell clinical trial work building. Today’s post is a new interview with the company’s CEO Paul Laikind. For past posts on ViaCyte see here, which includes an interview with Laikind a few years ago. PK: The last time we talked was in March 2015. Can you please update us on the VC-01 trial? How …Read More

2 min read

There has been considerable discussion about the whether the media hyped the recent Harvard Diabetes stem cell paper (see top 10 takeaways of that paper) . I believe that this was greatly hyped. This Harvard publication reported production of insulin-secreting cells from human embryonic stem cells (hESC). Newspapers around the world widely exaggerated the potential impact of this paper. They often used the word “cure”. Perhaps the worst offender was the Telegraph with their headline “Cure for Type 1 diabetes imminent after Harvard stem-cell breakthrough“. I’m not …Read More

3 min read

The idea of using stem cells for treat Type I Diabetes is very promising and could have huge practical impact. Real progress has been achieved toward this goal over the last decade. In perhaps another decade there might be a validated treatment. A new stem cell paper has just come out in Cell from Harvard in this area. It reports making insulin-producing β cells from human embryonic stem cells (hESC) with the notion of some day using these cells to treat Diabetes. See graphical abstract at left from the …Read More

1 min read

UPDATE: Unfortunately the Betatrophin paper discussed here originally back in 2013 has now largely been proven to have come to incorrect conclusions (for more read this). I finally got a chance to read the Cell paper by the Melton team on Betatrophin and it is quite cool. I think one big question is whether this can this be translated into humans, but it seems very encouraging. Another question is whether Betatrophin or some derivative when given as a chemical pill to patients could help control …Read More