Monday, April 29, 2013

New Hormone Offers Possible Diabetes Cure

Newly Discovered Hormone Could Become Wonder Drug Against Diabetes
A major research breakthrough was achieved in the field of diabetes by scientists at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) who discovered a hormone that could soon enable a dramatically more effective treatment of type 2 diabetes.

A hormone called betatrophin was surprisingly found to cause mice producing insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cells at up to 30 times the normal rate. The new beta cells only produce insulin when called for by the body, offering the potential for the natural regulation of insulin and a great reduction in the complications associated with diabetes.

Our idea here is relatively simple," Melton said. "We would provide this hormone, the type 2 diabetic will make more of their own insulin-producing cells, and this will slow down, if not stop, the progression of their diabetes. I've never seen any treatment that causes such an enormous leap in beta cell replication."
That's great, type 2 diabetes is a chronic problem, especially among the older population, and is very lifestyle limiting, but what about type 1, where the body's immune response has wiped out the Islets of Langerhans cells that produce insulin, so called "childhood diabetes" because it often strike the young?
The scientist hopes that the hormone could also play a role in treating juvenile diabetes type 1, the disease that afflicted two of his children and that he originally focused on for that reason -- for 15 years now.
It doesn't say why it's not as promising as with type 2, but my guess is that some means of stopping the autoimmune destruction of the pancreas cells would be necessary to protect the new cells grown by the hormone.  Maybe a combination therapy with the betatrophin and immune suppressants could used to treat type 1?

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