Hormone that could stop diabetes discovered
The Harvard Stem Cell Institute may have made a significant breakthrough in diabetes care. Scientists have discovered a hormone – betatrophin – that can dramatically increase insulin production, providing significant benefit to type 2 diabetes patients and newly-diagnosed type 1 patients alike. Animal experiments found that the hormone caused the body to produce beta cells at up to 30 times the normal rate, which then can secrete insulin in the pancreas.
This breakthrough could mean that type 2 diabetics may have a natural regulation of insulin, as beta cells can be jump-started back into production. As diabetes is a major cause of amputations and other serious complications, creating a pathway for insulin regulation could help eliminate some of these concerns.
Among type 1 diabetes patients, the scientists speculate that betatrophin could help boost the number of beta cells in the pancreas to slow the progression of the disease when it is first diagnosed.
The researchers hope that they can have human testing of the gene within three to five years, thinking optimistically.