Compare this New Sugar-Based Treatment For Type 1 Diabetes with these three id00000014160194 id00000000706637 id00000000698293
TANG YEW CHUNG
DECEMBER 22, 2011
AsianScientist (Dec. 22, 2011) – Researchers from The John Curtin School of Medical Research at The Australian National University have identified a previously unknown process which causes destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.
The researchers found that this process involves the depletion of a complex sugar, heparan sulfate, which is essential for the survival of beta cells – one of five cell types found in the pancreas and that also produce insulin.
In Type 1 diabetes, the human body’s immune system destroys these cells by mechanisms that are not well understood. A patient suffering from Type 1 diabetes is therefore required to have insulin injections every day.
Dr. Charmaine Simeonovic, one of the leaders of the study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, said:
“We’ve discovered that replacement of heparan sulfate in the beta cells rescues the cells from dying and prevents them from damage caused by oxidation. This new work has identified heparan sulfate depletion in beta cells as a major cause of beta cell death.”
“We attribute this cell death to loss of the beta cells’ normal defence against damage by oxidation caused by free radicals, or highly chemically reactive atoms, molecules or ions.”
The study also revealed that the autoimmune cells in the immune system damage beta cells by producing the enzyme heparanase, which degrades heparan sulfate in beta cells.
Treatment with a heparanase inhibitor, PI-88, was shown to preserve heparan sulfate in the beta cells of the pancreas and protect against Type 1 diabetes.
“This has revealed a new understanding of the development of Type 1 diabetes and has identified a new therapeutic strategy for preventing progression of the autoimmune disease and associated complications,” said Dr. Simeonovic.
The researchers have already started taking their medical breakthrough from the bench to bedside by starting up a biotechnology company, Beta Therapeutics, to translate their findings to the clinic.
- JCI Online Early Table Of Contents: Dec. 19, 2011 (medicalnewstoday.com)
- JCI online early table of contents: Dec. 19, 2011 (eurekalert.org)
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