Int. J. Dev. Biol. 62: 453 - 464 (2018)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.180067nn
© UPV/EHU Press

The triumvirate of beta-cell regeneration: solutions and bottlenecks to curing diabetes

Sumeet P. Singh1 and Nikolay Ninov*,1,2,3

1DFG-Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden, Cluster of Excellence, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, 2Paul Langerhans Institute Dresden of the Helmholtz Zentrum München at the University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine Carl Gustav Carus of Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden and 3German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD e.V.), Neuherberg, Neuherberg, Germany

ABSTRACT On 11 January 1922 insulin injection was used for the first time in the treatment of diabetes. Even today, daily insulin injections are the life-saving treatment for patients with Type 1 diabetes and advanced Type 2 diabetes. However, insulin injections often fail to achieve full glucose control, which in the long-term leads to multiple complications and mortality. Beta-cells, the natural producers and secretors of insulin, remain the gold-standard in regulating blood glucose levels. In this review, we focus on three strategies aiming at counteracting beta-cell loss in order to gain insulin independence: replacement, replication and protection. The three approaches, together termed as the triumvirate of beta-cell regeneration, may constitute the basis for a future cure for diabetes.

Keywords:

reprogramming, regeneration, protection, diabetes

*Corresponding author e-mail: Sumeet_Pal.Singh@tu-dresden.de