A researcher whose aim is to encourage certain stem cells to become insulin-secreting cells - and cure diabetes - has won a Diabetes Australia grant.
Associate Professor Fang-Xu Jiang, from The University of Western Australia's Centre for Medical Research, is also Head of Islet Cell Development Program (ICDP) at the UWA-affiliate, the WA Institute for Medical Research.
He is working on the gene encoding Pdx1 (Pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1) stem cells, which are also known as insulin promoter factor 1 cells. Pdx1 is for pancreatic development and Beta-cell maturation.
More than 104,000 people are living with diabetes in WA and it is estimated that for every person diagnosed, there is at least one other person undiagnosed. Around the world, more than 370 million people are affected by the disease and by 2030 the number is expected to rise to 500 million.
In the ICDP, Associate Professor Jiang works on the development of islets (made of cells including Beta cells) that come from the pancreas and may be transplanted into another person where they begin to produce insulin, actively regulating the level of glucose in the blood.
Associate Professor Jiang has had more than 25 years' experience in medical research both in Australia and overseas. In the early 1990s, he and his colleagues pioneered the establishment of male germ cell transplantation in rats, a novel technique for functional assay of male stem germ cells. For this contribution he was awarded the European Academy of Andrology Prize 1996 and Hamilton Thorne Research Prize 1996.
Associate Professor Jiang has researched the proliferation, differentiation, self-renewal and regeneration of pancreatic insulin-secreting Beta cells, including the molecular mechanisms of these biological processes. The ultimate aim is to generate unlimited number of Beta cells in vitro or stimulate patient's own progenitor or stem cells to become Beta cells in vivo to cure this disease.
Associate Professor Fang-Xu Jiang (Head, Islet Cell Development Program WAIMR, UWA Centre for Medical Research)
(+61 8) 9224 0388 / (+61 4) 30 353 497
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716