Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Beta Cell Boost

A hormone and insulin combination regenerates pancreatic beta cells lost to diabetic damage

08 March 2020

Beta Cell Boost

This image shows a mouse pancreatic islet – one of the parts of the pancreas that houses insulin-producing beta cells (green). Loss of these cells is the underlying cause of type I diabetes and can also occur in type 2 diabetes as the condition worsens. Existing medications for diabetes generally work by either directly replacing insulin, boosting its production from remaining beta cells, or reducing blood glucose levels. None are able to reverse the loss of beta cells – but that may be set to change. Recently, researchers have discovered a combination of hormones that, when administered together with a form of insulin, is able to boost beta cell numbers and function in diabetic mice. Moreover, the hormone combination was shown to increase human beta cell function in cultured islets and was non-toxic in animal studies. These results pave the way for potential clinical translation of this regenerative beta cell therapy.

Written by Ruth Williams

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