Dogs and cats may be different, but they both have tails. Lions and horses appear diverse, but they both have manes. Snakes and alligators may not look alike, but they both have scaly skin! And, just like you and I may look different, we both have diabetes! However, people with diabetes share similarities with various animals as well! In fact, a recently conducted study on mice with diabetes, showed promising findings towards prevention, of type one diabetes in humans!
This study, conducted by the University of British Columbia, researcher Timothy Kieffer (Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences) and BetaLogic scientists, involved transplanting stem cells into lab mice. Scientists had forced these mice into a diabetic state prior to the study. Therefore, we can consider these mice “newly diagnosed” at the time of the study. The mice had stem cell transplants from their gut, and the “feedback loop”, which lets your body deliver insulin based on your blood sugar, was re-established. When the stem-cell transplant was paired with ActoBiotic treatment, the creation of proinsulin was triggered in the mice, eventually leading to an anti-inflammatory protein, which, when paired with other treatments, prevented and cured type one diabetes in the mice. The mice were slowly taken off insulin treatment, and in three months, they had stable blood sugar levels as well as active beta cells that were not being used because of diabetes-related immune problems prior to the study. Since the lab mice were newly diagnosed, they still had a few B-cells, or insulin producing cells, in them. For patients who have had diabetes for long periods of time, their B-cells eventually destroy themselves. Therefore, this study mainly focuses on preventing the onset of type one diabetes, rather than finding a cure for patients who have been living with it for a while.
Although controversy has arisen based on this revolutionary study because of the B-cells that still remained in the mice, it has the potential to lead to amazing opportunities for prevention of type one diabetes, if not the cure. If the treatment given to the mice can be harnessed and used on humans, type one diabetes can be averted in many cases. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is currently searching ways to use the information gathered from this and other studies to increase tolerance on beta-cell attacks by the immune system. It is predicted that the population of people living with diabetes in the world, about 346 million, will double (or be greater than doubled) by 2030 if prevention is not found, but this study and other work being conducted could have a drastic affect on that number, and has the possibility to change the onset of type one diabetes.
Hello everyone! I'm Hannah! I'm 16 years old and have been living a normal life with type 1 diabetes for 10 years! I'm so excited to share the journey of Penpals United with you through our blog!