Date of Graduation

5-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Abstract

Recent studies have shown that human embryonic stem cells possess the ability to differentiate into almost any cell type in the bod and they can self-renew in culture conditions (Baetge, D'Amour et al. 26). As the number of Americans with Type 1 Diabetes continues to increase, innovative methods of treating this chronic illness must be developed in order to improve the quality of life for the affected individuals. Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have shown the potential to differentiate successfully into insulin-secreting β-cells, and these cultured β-cells can be used for cell-treatment therapies to replace the deficient β-cells in diabetes patients (Jiang et al. 2007 and Kroon et al. 2008). However promising the capabilities of hESCs seem in treating Type 1 Diabetes, they still contain different genetic information than that of the recipient, therefore the donated β-cells risk rejection. To overcome this problem, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can be compared to hESCs with respect to their differentiation into β-cells since they also can differentiate into almost any cell type (Nishikawa et al. 2008). Induced pluripotent stem cells are derived from reprogramming adult somatic cells back to an embryonic cell-like state, so they would be especially effective in disease treatment since the new β-cells produced would contain the patient's own genetic information and therefore the threat of rejection is low.

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