A woman uses a blood glucose meter.

Science Café – Using Human Stem Cells for Treating and Understanding Diabetes

As part of Carleton University’s Science Café series, Jennifer Bruin, assistant professor in the Department of Biology, will present Using Human Stem Cells for Treating and Understanding Diabetes.

When: Wednesday, March 8, 2017, at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Sunnyside Branch of the Ottawa Public Library, 1049 Bank Street, Ottawa
Info: This event is free and open to the public.

Diabetes is a chronic disease with devastating complications and an enormous global impact. There are currently 3.5 million people in Canada and more than 415 million people worldwide with diabetes – and these numbers are continually rising.

Diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels, resulting from insufficient production of insulin from beta cells. Insulin-secreting beta cells are located within cell clusters in the pancreas called “islets.’’ Remarkably, infusion of islet cells from a deceased organ donor can effectively reverse diabetes, but this clinical approach is severely limited by a lack of suitable organ donors.

Human stem cells are a promising alternative source for transplantation because of their potential to be directed into all cell types in the human body, including insulin-secreting beta cells. Bruin will discuss how human stem cells have been used to reverse diabetes in mice and how stem cells are currently being tested in clinical trials here in Canada.

Bruin will also talk about the utility of human stem cells as a novel model system for studying the underlying causes of beta cell destruction and dysfunction in diabetes. By better understanding the root causes of diabetes, we hope to prevent the development of this disease long before treatment is required.

The Science Café series is organized by the Faculty of Science at Carleton University to discuss relevant issues facing our society and how science can help solve real-world problems. Meet some of our award-winning faculty members and graduate students as they share their excitement about science with the community. For more information, visit: Sciencecafe.Carleton.ca.


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