Diabetes breakthrough increases insulin producing cells
A potential cure for Type 1 diabetes looms on the horizon in San Antonio, and the novel approach would also allow Type 2 diabetics to stop insulin shots.
The discovery, made at UT Health San Antonio, increases the types of pancreatic cells that secrete insulin.
UT Health San Antonio researchers have a goal to reach human clinical trials in three years, but to do so they must first test the strategy in large-animal studies, which will cost an estimated $5 million.
Those studies will precede application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Investigational New Drug (IND) approval, Bruno Doiron, Ph.D., a co-inventor, said.
The scientists received a U.S. patent in January, and UT Health San Antonio is spinning out a company to begin commercialization.
The strategy has cured diabetes in mice.
“It worked perfectly,” Dr. Doiron, assistant professor of medicine at UT Health, said. “We cured mice for one year without any side effects. But it’s a mouse model, so caution is needed. We want to bring this to large animals that are closer to humans in physiology of the endocrine system.”
Ralph DeFronzo, M.D., professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Diabetes at UT Health, is co-inventor on the patent. He described the therapy:
“The pancreas has many other cell types besides beta cells, and our approach is to alter these cells so that they start to secrete insulin, but only in response to glucose [sugar],” he said. “This is basically just like beta cells.”
Insulin, which lowers blood sugar, is only made by beta cells. In Type 1 diabetes, beta cells are d Continue reading