Insulin-producing pancreatic cells created from human skin cells

Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes, the Diabetes Center at UCSF, and the UCSF School of Pharmacy have converted human skin cells into fully functional pancreatic cells that produce insulin in response to changes in glucose levels. Transplanted into mice, the cells protected the animals from developing a mouse model of diabetes.

The new study, co-senior-authored by UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member Sheng Ding, PhD, was published in Nature Communications on January 6, 2016.

The study demonstrates significant advancements in cellular reprogramming technology, which allow massive increases in pancreatic cell production while maintaining quality control. The accomplishment opens the door for disease modeling and drug screening—and brings personalized cell therapy a step closer for patient with diabetes.

Ding is a faculty member in the School’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and a senior investigator in the Roddenberry Stem Cell Center at Gladstone.


Insulin-Producing Pancreatic Cells Created from Human Skin Cells


School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, PharmD Degree Program, CCB

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.