I have heard reports of some new research involving the genetic alteration of fat cells to produce insulin. I am interested in learning as much as possible about this, and was wondering if you have any information.
Cultured cells can be successfully transfected with a rotavirus containing the human insulin gene. Indeed this technic has been used to induce human insulin production in rodents. Fibroblasts are the tissue normally used because they can be easily cultured; but this has been done in a variety of cells.
I sense however that what you are interested in is the possibility of culturing an individual's fat cells, activating the insulin producing genes and their control mechanisms and then returning the transformed cells as a form of isotransplant. I was not able to track down any publications on this theme at PubMed or by asking around. The triple problem is first to learn how to turn on insulin production, second how to control it in relation to blood sugar, and third in the case of Type 1 diabetes, how to avoid continuing vulnerability to immune damage.
Original posting 21 May 1998
Posted to Research: Cure
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