June 11, 2013

The Golden Goose for a T1D Cure

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golden_gooseA new study published in Diabetes indicates that a treatment using adult stem cells may halt the autoimmune attack causing T1D and spur insulin-producing cells duplication.

Habib Zaghouani, PhD,, a University of Missouri scientist, has spent 12 years trying to understand and correct autoimmune diseases like T1D. His lab has found that the use of adult bone marrow and Ig-GAD2 can retrain the immune system and restore a hospitable environment for insulin-producing cells to duplicate.

“We discovered that type 1 diabetes destroys not only insulin-producing cells but also blood vessels that support them,” Zaghouani said. “When we realized how important the blood vessels were to insulin production, we developed a cure that combines a drug we created with adult stem cells from bone marrow. The drug stops the immune system attack, and the stem cells generate new blood vessels that help insulin-producing cells to multiply and thrive.”

Insulin producing cells are a special type of cell. They don’t appear, spontaneously. They duplicate from preexisting insulin-producing cells. What is being done in this lab is exactly what must happen, first, before the insulin-producing cells can appear.

The age old question what comes first, the chicken or the egg is answered here. Islet cells need islet cells before you canĀ  get more islet cells. Keep those chickens alive with a life line of blood supplying oxygen and nutrients and you’ve got the golden goose.

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