High-profile claim for potential diabetes cure refuted by UC Davis paper
UC Davis study discredits paper’s claims of simple path to diabetes cure
A key tenet in the scientific method is showing that an experiment, holding all other variables equal, will yield the same result every time. Any paper published in a peer-reviewed journal will come under scrutiny from the scientific community, even more so if the article comes from a world-renowned publication like Cell.
When Cell first published an article in January stating that a commonly available treatment for malaria could reverse the effects of Type 1 diabetes, Mark Huising, an associate professor in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, expressed a mixture of excitement and skepticism.
“My first reaction was ‘wow, this would be great if this was true’,” Huising said. “What this paper suggested you could do is that they could tap into a process that had been described by a couple of different labs, ours included, where alpha cells in the pancreas can turn into beta cells.”
Diabetes is a disease in which the body cannot produce insulin, the hormone that signals the body to uptake sugar from the bloodstream. Insulin is produced in the pancreas by beta cells. In the case of Type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks beta cells, so the body can no longer regulate blood sugar levels. The challenge in restoring beta cell mass is that they are difficult to grow in lab, so researchers have attempted, instead, to convert alpha cells, the counterpart to beta cells and unaffected by diabetes, to beta cells.
The Cell paper, published by a consortium of European and American Continue reading