A new therapy for treating Type 1 diabetes

October 20, 2021

Promising early results show that longstanding Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) research may have paved the way for a breakthrough treatment of Type 1 diabetes. Utilizing research from the Melton Lab, Vertex Pharmaceuticals has developed VX-880, an investigational stem cell-derived, fully differentiated pancreatic islet cell replacement therapy for people with type 1 diabetes (T1D). In conjunction with immunosuppressive therapy, VX-880 produced robust restoration of islet cell function on Day 90 in the first patient in its Phase 1/2 clinical trial.... Read more about A new therapy for treating Type 1 diabetes

HSCI co-director leads multi-institutional center to advance type 1 diabetes research

February 23, 2021

The JDRF Center of Excellence in New England will accelerate beta cell replacement therapy

Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) co-director Douglas Melton, Ph.D., will lead a new multi-institutional center funded by JDRF to advance type 1 diabetes research. The JDRF Center of Excellence in New England will focus on the transplantation of beta cells, the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas that are attacked by the immune system during type 1 diabetes.

The center is also led by JDRF scientific staff leader Esther Latres, Ph.D. Other collaborators include...

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Cell therapy for all

November 1, 2018

Chad Cowan is on a quest for the universal donor, which would make cell therapy available to populations – not just individuals.

  • Harvard scientist Chad Cowan aims to make off-the-shelf cellular products, and democratize access to new medicines.
  • His lab is working to make cellular therapies that can work for anyone, not just a single patient. 
  • Their ambitious goal is to modify therapeutic cells that can be transplanted into many people, without being rejected.


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How insulin-producing cells show their age

April 6, 2017

Adapted from a Joslin Diabetes Center press release

Diabetes researchers have puzzled for decades about why insulin-producing beta cells in one pancreatic islet often look and behave quite differently than their counterparts in the same islet or in nearby islets. Using newly identified cellular markers of aging, Joslin Diabetes Center scientists now have shown that this diversity may be driven at least in part by differently aged beta cell populations within the pancreas. 

Additionally, the Joslin team demonstrated that the aging of beta cells, with associated losses of...

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Helping beta cells divide

March 17, 2017


Scientists identify a key barrier to proliferation of inuslin-producing cells

If you become resistant to insulin, a condition that is a precursor to type 2 diabetes, your body tries to compensate by producing more of the “beta” cells in the pancreas that produce the critical hormone. Researchers have long sought to understand why these cells often fail to proliferate in people who go on to develop the disease. Studying both humans and mice, scientists at Joslin Diabetes Center now have pinpointed one key biological mechanism that can prevent...

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