Artificial skin transplants could help treat diabetes – ExpressNewsline

Posted: August 4, 2017 at 9:43 pm

The skin grafts that genetically modified have then given to mice that fed high-fat diets to induce obesity.

A new form of gene therapy administered through skin transplants can help improve treatments for Type-2 diabetes and obesity, researchers have claimed. These mice saw a reverse in insulin resistance and gained around half as much weight as those not given the grafts, Engadget said.

Using high-tech gene therapy to get the same result seems unlikely, said Dominguez-Bendala, an associate professor at the University of Miami's Diabetes Research Institute.

Xiaoyang Wu: We have been working on skin somatic stem cells for a long time.

In the study, Wu and colleagues worked with skin because it is a large organ and easily accessible.

In fact, skin cell transplants look to be an ideal way to deliver gene therapy. Clinical translation of our findings will be relatively easy, as skin transplantation in human patients has been well established and clinically used for treatment of burn wounds for many years.

Using CRISPR, researchers from the University of Chicago edited the skin stem cells from newborn mice which prompted the cells to secrete glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1) - a hormone that stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin and regulates blood sugar.

The extra insulin removes excessive glucose from the bloodstream, preventing the complications of diabetes. The hormone can also decrease appetite. This switch turns the gene on, as needed, to make more GLP-1. Using the genetic engineering tool CRISPR, the team inserted a mutation, adding an antibody fragment to the gene that would make the GLP-1 last longer in the blood and an additional modification to the targeting vector that would also attach an inducible promoter.

Wu and colleauges used CRISPR to make specific edits in GLP1, including one that allowed the gene to be turned "on" or "off" as needed, by using the antibiotic doxycycline. As one of the most studied adult stem cell systems, skin stem cells have several unique advantages as the novel vehicle for somatic gene therapy.

The hormone, which is normally produced in the digestive tract, spurs the production of insulin - the body's key regulator of blood sugar levels. About 80% of the engineered skin grafts successfully transplanted onto a small spot on each mouse host's back and began secreting GLP-1 upon the appropriate induction cue. Animals fed on a high-fat diet also did not put on any weight. "Or it could function as a metabolic sink, removing various toxins". He said it raises the possibility that "therapeutic skin grafts" could be used to treat a range of diseases - from hemophilia to drug dependence. The team has demonstrated that skin transplants are not only an efficient way to deliver gene therapy, but that the process can be effectively triggered by an external chemical source.

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Artificial skin transplants could help treat diabetes - ExpressNewsline

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