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JDRF-Funded Study Takes First Step Toward Development of Medicines That Can Regenerate Pancreases

Mar 11, 2009

Scientists are considering a two-pronged approach of having the body copy existing beta cells that are still functional while the pancreas is simultaneously induced to produce entirely new ones.

Researchers funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation have found two chemical compounds that can trigger the growth of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The discovery could become the basis for medicines designed to regenerate the pancreas in people with type 1 diabetes.

The JDRF-sponsored team at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation screened a vast library of chemical compounds-more than 850,000-to see what effects they might have on triggering the production of new beta cells lines derived from mice. 

The researchers found 80 compounds that merited further investigation and eventually focused on two. One compound promotes beta cell replication by means of a biological pathway that is critical to beta cell development in embryos. The other uses an ion channel, which regulates the flow of ions across cell membranes, to induce beta cell proliferation. 

The next step will be to conduct studies on animals to see if the compounds' effects can be replicated in a whole organism. If that line of research pans out, the hope is to test the compounds on humans. 

The Novartis study continues the JDRF's focus on research into making the body re-grow beta cells that have been killed by the autoimmune effects of type 1 diabetes. They are considering a two-pronged approach of having the body copy existing beta cells that are still functional while the pancreas is simultaneously induced to produce entirely new ones.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Categories: Beta Cells, Diabetes, Diabetes, Insulin, Medications Research, Professional Issues, Type 1 Issues



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Comments

Posted by Anonymous on 19 March 2009

Another idea of hope. There are too many today. Time ticks away. Clearly a cure for any life threating disease is over regulated. Caution must be thrown into the wind. Sometimes you just have to chances. Maybe this is the time.

Posted by Anonymous on 21 March 2009

There will be pie in the sky bye and bye. I truly hope that this leads somewhere great. But announcements of studies like this really need to be accompanied with the cold hard truth that they are many years away from clinical application. This stuff is exciting but in the twenty-five years since my husband was diagnosed I have probably read a thousand articles like this NONE of which have yet led to a cure or anything close to it. This is not a breakthrough. It is a hint of an inkling of an idea that may someday take form.

Posted by Anonymous on 24 March 2009

Despite all the nay sayers above. This is one of first few studies that actually look at curing type 1 not just avoiding or delaying it. There is always hope. Nothing is impossible for God who fuels these researchers.

Posted by Anonymous on 24 March 2009

There just aren't enought type ones to make it profitable to cure type 1 diabetes. I've been hearing a cure is "just around the corner for fifty years." Nevertheless...I confess I'm a sucker for such aricles and immediatly read them and often forward them to other type ones.

Posted by sanjeevsule on 24 March 2009

Beta cells are are to beat! But i am sure human ingenuity and persistence will pay off. The day will come when we will coax these beta cells to produce insulin. Till then let us be optimistic and keep on trying.At least our next generation will reap the benefit.

Posted by sanjeevsule on 24 March 2009

Beta cells are hard to beat! But i am sure human ingenuity and persistence will pay off. The day will come when we will coax these beta cells to produce insulin. Till then let us be optimistic and keep on trying. At least our next generation will reap the benefit of research.

Posted by Anonymous on 26 March 2009

Something that has stuck with me for the last 23 yrs was told to me by a diabetes educator was. "Technology is changing so fast there may be a cure someday. But, as a person with diabetes. You need to take care of yourself as best as possible so you are healthy enough to benefit from these advances in technology" 23 yrs later and a diabetes educator myself. I see how individuals who have poorly managed their diabetes ,have multiple complications are NOT canadiates for transplants, and can't get adequate insurance coverage for the newer technologies and will continue to live with poor health.

Posted by Anonymous on 10 April 2009

Just one more carrot to dangle in front of us lending hope for a cure some day. Too much money from the drug co. would be lost if indeed a cure was found. By gosh though, we did get to the moon.....

Posted by Anonymous on 21 April 2009

"The Novartis study continues the JDRF's focus on research into making the body re-grow beta cells that have been killed by the autoimmune effects of type 1 diabetes. "
Isn't the immune system going to attack these new cells and kill them right away? How are they going to stop autoimmunity?


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