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Reversing Diabetes

February 28, 2013

One injection has eliminated the symptoms of Type I diabetes in dogs – for four years and counting.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

A potential cure for type 1 diabetes.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Diabetes researchers in Spain recently made a major breakthrough: With one gene therapy treatment, they’ve essentially cured type 1 diabetes in dogs.  As biochemist Fatima Bosch, of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, explains: In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas stops producing insulin, which regulates blood sugar.  Their technique reassigns that job to muscle tissue, by inserting genes that produce both insulin and an enzyme called glucokinase.  The glucokinase helps moderate sudden spikes in blood sugar.

FATIMA BOSCH (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain):

And this is because the glucokinase is only active when the blood glucose levels are very high.

HIRSHON:
After one injection, the formerly diabetic dogs were able to regulate their blood sugar normally without further treatment – for up to four years and counting.  It’s very promising, but more work is needed before it can be tried on humans.  I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.

Type 1 diabetes affects dogs as well as people. (Jupiter Images)