Critical issues for engineering cord blood stem cells to produce insulin

Larry Denner, Randall J. Urban

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background/objectives: The objectives of using cord blood stem cells for treating type 1 diabetes are simple in principle yet complex in biological and molecular mechanisms. These are defined by the complexity of the insulin-producing unit of the pancreas, the islet. Islets are composed of various cell types that arise from diverse lineages and communicate by hormones, growth factors and small-molecule mediators. These processes are regulated by integration of signal transcluction pathways. While advances have been made to engineer umbilical cord blood stem cells to produce insulin, these studies only illuminate the potential of such cells to fulfil a necessary, but not sufficient, requirement for transplantation. Results/conclusions: The challenges ahead demand detailed understanding of molecular mechanisms to move from an opportunistic, phenotypic approach to transplantation and amelioration of blood glucose, to an orderly and logical approach to a biologically and medically meaningful solution. The issues include expansion to generate large numbers of cells, self-renewal to regulate the destiny of cord blood stem cells to repopulate the hematopoietic system, and multipotency of stem cells to generate the distinct cell types of an islet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1251-1254
Number of pages4
JournalExpert Opinion on Biological Therapy
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Cord blood stem cell
  • Diabetes
  • Insulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Critical issues for engineering cord blood stem cells to produce insulin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this