Diabetes: Can gene therapy normalize blood glucose levels?
Researchers may have just found a way to restore normal blood glucose levels in a mouse model of type 1 diabetes, which could prove to be a promising solution for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes in the future.
Dr. George Gittes, a professor of surgery and of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pennsylvania, and team led the study. Their findings were published in the journal Cell Stem Cell.
Type 1 diabetes, a chronic autoimmune disease, affects around 1.25 million children and adults in the United States.
The immune system that usually destroys germs and foreign substances mistakenly launches an attack on the insulin-producing beta cells that are found in the pancreas, which then results in high blood glucose levels.
Over time, type 1 diabetes can have a significant effect on major organs and cause heart and blood vessel disease, damage to the nerves, kidneys, eyes, and feet, skin and mouth conditions, and complications during pregnancy.
Researchers in the type 1 diabetes field have aimed to develop a treatment that preserves and restores function to beta cells, which would, in turn, replenish insulin, responsible for moving blood glucose into cells for energy.
One barrier to this solution is that the new cells that arise from beta cell replacement therapy would likely also be destroyed by the immune system.
To overcome this hurdle, the team hypothesized that other, similar, cells could be reprogrammed to behave in a similar way to beta cells and produce insulin, but which are different enough not to be recognized and destroyed by the immu Continue reading