Issue 28, February 2011
3. Ray of Hope for Type 1 Diabetes?

     Type 1 diabetes could be converted to an asymptomatic, non-insulin-dependent disorder by eliminating the actions of a specific hormone; says researchers from the UT Southwestern Medical Centre.

     The study conducted in mice shows that insulin becomes completely superfluous and its absence does not cause diabetes or any other abnormality when the actions of glucagon a hormone produced by the pancreas are suppressed.

     “We’ve all been brought up to think insulin is the all-powerful hormone without which life is impossible, but that isn’t the case,” said Dr. Roger Unger, professor of internal medicine and senior author of the study appearing online and in the February issue of Diabetes. “If diabetes is defined as restoration of glucose homeostasis to normal, then this treatment can perhaps be considered very close to a ‘cure.’ ”
“Hopefully, these findings will someday help those with type 1 diabetes,”  “If we can find a way to block the actions of glucagon in humans, then maybe we can minimize the need for insulin therapy.” Said Dr. Young Lee, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT South-western and lead author of the study.

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