After two decades of intense stem cell research we’re now at a
turning point in translating our efforts into potential treatments for
people with serious chronic diseases.
As someone who has been on this journey from the beginning,
I feel proud of what we have achieved so far, and I would like to
share my thoughts about our next chapter in developing stem
A recent, big breakthrough happened about a year ago when we
cracked one of the hardest nuts of all in the search for a cure of
type 1 diabetes: we were able to transform stem cells to
glucose-sensing, insulin-secreting beta cells, just like those
produced in the pancreas of a healthy person.
We showed that we could implant cells that were
differentiated from embryonic stem cells into mice with type 1
diabetes and basically make the animals normal.
That wasn’t all. Collaborating with Lund University and
BioLamina, we were also able to convert the stem cells into
dopamine-producing neurons that have the potential to one day treat
Parkinson’s disease in a curative manner.
Again in partnership with BioLamina and alongside the
Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, we made heart cells that in
future could help to treat chronic heart failure. Importantly, these
achievements can be repeated efficiently, robustly and consistently.