Pancreas and Liver Program
This program at the Regenerative Medicine Institute (RMI) is dedicated to helping patients confront and overcome diseases of the pancreas and liver. By producing liver and pancreas cells from pluripotent stem cells provided by the RMI Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) Core Facility, this work is pushing the boundaries of medical science and offering hope to transplant patients around the globe.
Twenty-four million Americans suffer from diabetes. It is a national epidemic that is on the rise. Liver disease and hepatitis C affect over 200 million people worldwide.
Pancreas and liver transplants are restricted due to limitations on organ donations. The procedures are invasive and fraught with risk, including the potential for organ rejection. There are no good drugs capable of regenerating either pancreas or liver tissue.
Using induced pluripotent stem cells from the iPSC Core Facility, we are focused on transforming ordinary adult skin cells into insulin-producing islet cells to treat and reverse diabetes. Combating hepatitis C is a top priority. By modifying the genetics of a patient’s liver cells, we are seeking novel ways to prevent the hepatitis C virus from replicating—and thus allow the damaged liver to heal itself. By pursuing effective stem cell therapies, we are seeking to develop a platform that can be translated to a host of other liver and pancreas-related disorders.
ON THE HORIZON
As we continue to bolster our ability to produce islet and liver cells from stem cells, we will work to make the technology scalable: creating enough cells for us to transfer to patients via a safe and simple procedure. Our work unites basic scientists with surgeons in a common goal: harnessing stem cells to eliminate the need for whole-organ transplants.