Researchers have located insulin-producing cells in the fat, liver, and bone marrow of diabetic mice, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (February 17, 2004). In fact, insulin-producing cells have been found in both type 1 and type 2 diabetic mice, said researcher Lawrence Chan, MD.
"The common denominator in all the animals is high blood sugar, not insulin deficiency," said Dr. Chan. "High blood sugar causes these cells to produce insulin." During the study, Dr. Chan discovered the source of the insulin-producing cells to be bone marrow, which has been targeted as the origin of many different types of tissues in recent years. If this inherent property of cells can be harnessed and augmented, researchers can use it to create cells from other tissues for the treatment of diabetes.