From the April 2011 Issue of Stem Cells
Paper Commentary by Stuart P. Atkinson
Pancreatic beta cell replacement for the treatment of type I diabetes mellitus through the directed differentiation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) is one of the great hopes for regenerative medicine. Great strides have been made towards this goal, although the efficient production of functionally mature functional beta cells from hESC-pancreatic progenitor cells has not yet been reported. One of the main limitations is the heterogeneity of differentiating hESC cultures in vitro. Now the group of Hongkui Deng at the School of Life Sciences at Peking University have demonstrated the potential usefulness of the cell surface marker CD24 for identification and enrichment of pancreatic progenitor cells derived from ESC. The study (Jiang et al.), published in the April Edition of Stem Cells, also shows the equivalence of in vitro differentiated pancreatic progenitor cells with those seen in vivo through the analysis of CD24 positive cells.