A team of researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) has cured mice with diabetes type 1 for the first time. In the experiment, the diabetic mice completely recovered from the disease after having suffered excesses of glucose in their blood. Although the mice used were transgenic, the researchers are sure that there will soon be a genic therapy based on this discovery that will cure non-transgenic mice with diabetes type 1, and which, within a few years, will also be able to cure people. The study was published in last edition of Journal of Clinical Investigation.
A research team led by Fatima Bosch, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the UAB, has studied the effects of protein IGF-I on mice with diabetes type 1, i.e. the type of diabetes produced by a decrease in the number of beta cells in the pancreas, the ones which produce insulin. In order to study this effect, the researchers used mice that were genetically modified so that the beta cells in their pancreases would produce protein IGF-I, and have compared the development of diabetes type 1 in this type of mice to the evolution of the disease in control mice (without genetic modifications).
The results of the experiments clearly show that in the transgenic mice with the gene that codifies for protein IGF-I activated in beta cells, the induction of experimental diabetes leads to the replication of these cells, their programmed cellular death is counteracted (apoptosis) and the resident mother cells in the conducts of the pancreas are induced to develop insulin-producing beta cells. All these effects lead to the mice completely recovering from the disease, re-establishing absolutely normal levels of glucose in their blood.
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