Diabetes is a prevalent and serious feline health problem that frequently occurs in Norwegian Forest, Tonkinese, and Burmese cats. Treatment includes diet, weight loss and insulin to replace that normally produced by insulin producing cells (IPCs) in the pancreas. Unfortunately, some cats do not respond to standard therapy, and as many as 30% succumb to disease consequences within 1 year of diagnosis. This research may make it possible to restore insulin production in affected cats with tissue grown from their own stem cells.
These primary investigators previously identified the best way to isolate stem cells from feline adipose tissue removed during elective sterilization procedures and determined that specific stem cell subsets can turn into pancreatic cells. They now propose to confirm that fresh and cryopreserved stem cells from individual cats can become IPCs that produce feline insulin and respond like natural cells. The ultimate goal is restore natural insulin production in cats that do not respond to diet, weight loss and standard insulin therapy.
This investigation will test the hypothesis that insulin production and response to glucose by IPCs generated from fresh and cryopreserved feline ASCs are identical. Stem cells from male and female cats will be isolated with techniques established in earlier Winn studies. The ability of fresh and cryopreserved stem cells to become functioning insulin producing cells will be compared using established procedures including insulin production in response to glucose.
Custom tissue grafts from stem cells that are easy to use may someday cure diabetes in cats.