Michelle Schlehuber and daughter Caroline voluntarily donated skin cells to a Schulze Diabetes Institute research project on a recent visit to the University. As part of the project, Meri Firpo, Ph.D., is taking donated skin cells from diabetics and non-diabetics, reprogramming them back into unspecified stem cells, which she then turns into insulin-producing islet cells. Firpo transplants the reprogrammed skin cells into diabetic mice to see if the cells can function as insulin-producing islets. She hopes to determine whether the treatment is a viable option for humans, as a way to use patient’s own cells or human donor cells to cure diabetes.
Schlehuber is a member of board of directors for the Slaggie Family Foundation, a supporter of the University of Minnesota’s Schulze Diabetes Institute.