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New Research Suggests a Cure for Type 2 Diabetes May Not Be Far Away

New Research Suggests a Cure for Type 2 Diabetes May Not Be Far Away

Researchers at Florida State University believe that they are another step closer to finding a cure for Type 2 Diabetes.  Their research with mice has demonstrated that it is possible to bring dormant pancreas cells back to life and have them once again secrete insulin.

The breakthrough, which has only been successful using non-human beta cells in a laboratory, utilizes both mathematics and technology to induce pancreatic beta cells to produce insulin. Beta cells are found in the pancreas and are responsible for sensing the sugar in the blood stream and releasing the necessary amount of insulin to maintain appropriate blood sugar levels.  Researchers have successfully reactivated insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells using an instrument called a microfluidic device which sends pulses of glucose into the once dormant cells. Their success in the lab has led the FSU team to believe that it is only a matter of time before they can recreate the results in people. 

The research administered high, steady glucose concentrations which deactivated the beta cell's "insulin clock", and subsequently, using mathematical modeling, directed controlled pulses of glucose to reactivate the clock. Additionally, the researchers learned that reactivated cells could somehow "recruit" and reactivate neighboring beta cells when the glucose concentration flow was controlled by a feedback loop that mimics the behavior of the liver.

Dr. Richard Bertram, a FSU mathematics professor and co-author of the study, defined his department's involvement in the following statement, "Type 2 diabetes is a very complicated disease. The way that we can beat it is by understanding how all these components work and that's our contribution. Scientific breakthroughs are often facilitated by mathematics."

While the research certainly seems promising, the next phases of testing will determine its potential effectiveness as work will be done using human cells found in the pancreas known as islets (pronounced "EYE-lets").


From MSN:

From Medical Xpress:

The research study can be found: