Ray of hope for diabetic patients, Body may produce its own insulin: Report
Researchers at the University of Bergen have discovered that neighbour-cells can take over functions of damaged or missing insulin-producing cells. The new discovery may lead to new treatments for diabetes.
The University of Bergen's researchers in association with other international researchers discovered that glucagon-producing cells in the pancreas can alter identity and adapt so that they do the job for their neighbouring damaged or missing insulin cells (for which compensation of insulin is provided to many diabetic patients through external methods). What they noted is that only about 2 percent of the neighboring cells in the pancreas are able to change identity. This amount gives a ray of hope to the researchers to find out new treatment approaches and they believe that human body may be able to make it diabetes-free in the future.
"We are possibly facing the start of a totally new form of treatment for diabetes, where the body can produce its own insulin, with some start-up help," said Researcher Luiza Ghila at the Raeder Research Lab, Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen (UiB).
This is for the first time in history the researchers had been able to elucidate the mechanisms behind the process of cell identity. It turns out that this is not at the passive process, but is a result of signals from the surrounding cells. In the study, researchers were able to increase the number of insulin-producing cells to 5 percent, by using a drug that influenced the inter-cell signalling process. Thus far, the results have only been shown in animal models.
According to them, the new findings are not only good news for diabetes treatment, but the cells' ability to change function and identity may be a decisive discovery in treating other diseases called by cell death like Alzheimer's disease, cellular damage due to heart attacks etc., as shared by Ghila.