Rituxamab, a drug that treats lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis, may soon be used to help combat the destruction of pancreatic beta cells in newly diagnosed cases of type 1 diabetes. Researchers at Indiana University have found that the drug, originally developed and sold by Genentech as Rituxan, temporarily slows or stops the destruction of the 10 or 20 percent of beta cells that type 1s typically have remaining when they are first diagnosed.
NEW YORK, Dec. 17, 2009 - The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a leader in setting the agenda for diabetes research worldwide, said today that it will begin working with The Johnson & Johnson Corporate Office of Science and Technology, and its affiliates, to speed the development of drug targets and pathways to promote the survival and function of insulin-producing cells in people who have diabetes. The program will look to fund research at academic centers around the world that could eventually lead to novel drug targets and industry collaborations for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.
One thing that really frustrates people with diabetes mellitus is the biopharma industry's focus on treatments rather than cures. A cure is what the diabetes community wants, not another band-aid. So the existence of a biopharma company that calls itself "CureDM" is promising, and its first product, Pancreate, seems to be on its way to fulfilling that promise.
By reprogramming skin cells from people with type 1 diabetes, scientists have produced beta cells that secrete insulin in response to changes in glucose levels. Dr. Douglas Melton and his colleagues at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute started by using the skin cells to generate induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Once they had iPS cells, the researchers manipulated them into developing into pancreatic islet (beta) cells.
Our genes are like a recipe for a human. It's a very complicated recipe, determining how much of this protein and how much of that enzyme need to be added into the mix in order for us to function properly, but our genes are pretty good at getting it right. Although we are still learning how the recipe works, what ingredients (gene products) are involved, and when are they are produced, our knowledge is growing fast.
A study from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston says that magnetic resonance imaging could become a useful tool for diagnosing diabetes and helping doctors determine the proper course of treatment.
A protein that builds up in the pancreases of baboons and leads to the suppression of insulin-producing beta cells, may provide one of the most significant indicators yet for predicting the onset of type 2 diabetes.
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