Genetically CRISPR-Modified Gut Stem Cells for Treatment of Diabetes
Can you imagine that your gut save us from diabetes? The recent genomic modifying tool CRISPR/Cas9 combined with stem cell technology can help modify our gut cells to combat diabetes!
Insulin insufficiency is a major cause of diabetes worldwide. Restoring insulin-producing β-cell function is thus important for diabetic prevention and treatment. Here I’m proposing a novel approach using colonic L cells as a source to derive new β-cells via CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genomic engineering. Found in the colon epithelium, L cells can secrete peptide hormones in response to elevated glucose levels and are developmentally similar to pancreatic β-cells. I have established an in vitro protocol to derive L cells from human colon stem cells. These human colon stem cells can be obtained from any patient’s tissue biopsy and expanded into a large number for the purpose of cell replacement therapy. The colon stem cells will be genetically engineered by CRISPR/Cas9 to insert the sequence of insulin at the specific genomic locus. The modified colon stem cells will be then induced to become insulin-producing L cells for transplantation into patients. This research will provide an unprecedented step toward personalized diabetic treatment.
Image courtesy of Chaiyaboot Ariyachet