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Blood vessels trigger development of the pancreas

st and then send signals to blood vessels to come to them as tumors do in the process of angiogenesis. Or, these organs could also use a mechanism involving signals from blood vessels to trigger their differentiation, to guarantee this intimate contact before they develop."

Given the new findings that blood vessels signal pancreatic cells, Melton expects a similar signaling system to be found in other organs. While the discovery of this signaling mechanism will most likely aid efforts to trigger stem cells to become islet cells to treat diabetes, Melton emphasizes that blood-vessel-signaling constitutes only one factor governing such differentiation.

"This is not the answer by itself to the problem of making islet cells," he said. "But it is an important finding because it reveals one of the signals in a stepwise path in islet cell differentiation," he said.


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Contact: Jim Keeley
keeleyj@hhmi.org
301-215-8858
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
27-Sep-2001


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