Who would guess that it kind of makes sense to use the liver to produce beta cells, the vehicles for easing the problem of type 1 diabetes? Well, I was convinced of just that during a talk I attended yesterday at this year?s linkurl:Keystone meeting;http://www.keystonesymposia.org/Meetings/ViewMeetings.cfm?MeetingID=786 on stem cell biology. linkurl:Jonathan M.W. Slack;http://www.bath.ac.uk/bio-sci/slack.htm of the University of Bath in the UK and his colleagues have been studying the use of liver cells to produce beta cells -- an admittedly "bizarre choice," he said, given that the adult liver and pancreas are quite different. However, from a developmental biology point of view, the organs are closely related, and one signal, FGF, appears to distinguish one from the other in a mouse embryo. A series of experiments appeared to suggest that it might be possible to convert liver cells into pancreas cells using Pdx-1, which is essential for the formation of the pancreas....

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