Pancreas regeneration: pancreatic progenitors and their niche
Are there facultative progenitors in the adult mammalian pancreas?
Why it matters
Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder characterized by loss or dysfunction of pancreatic β cells. Over 425 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, this number is increasing and is expected to rise up to 642 million in 2040, making diabetes a major public health issue worldwide.
The average annual cost for a T1D patient in Spain was 27.274 € in 2017. Direct healthcare costs was 4070 € and direct non-healthcare cost was 23,204 €. Thus, diabetes is a major cost in the Spanish health care, for its incidence and for the need of healthcare support for the patients for life. Importantly this cost increases do to the complications related to the pathology: 1) Microvascular Complications: eye, kidney, and nerve diseases and 2) Macrovascular complications: the heart and pregnancy complications. Thus, there is a clear need to develop therapies to maintain normoglicemia in diabetic patients to avoid or reduce T1D complications. Moreover, curing T1D requires the restoration of β cell mass. Therefore, our project focused in the generation of insulin producing cells form adult pancreatic progenitors in organoid cultures can provide the basis for developing regenerative therapies in human diabetes, either through manipulation of pancreatic exocrine tissue from donors in vitro, and their subsequent transplantation, or through in vivo or in vitro manipulation of patients’ pancreatic duct cells. These newly formed insulin producing cells should be ultimately encapsulated to avoid the immune system destruction.