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Harvard University invents a groundbreaking new Diabetes treatment

In a recent study that was just published in Science Advances, a team of researchers from the University of Missouri, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Harvard University demonstrated the successful use of a novel Type 1 diabetes medication in a large animal model. 

About 1.8 million Americans are thought to have type 1 diabetes.

There is no cure for type 1 diabetes, despite extensive ongoing research. Taking insulin, keeping an eye on your diet, controlling your blood sugar levels, and exercising frequently are all treatment options.

The new research technique entails transplanting pancreatic islets, or insulin-producing pancreas cells, from a donor to a recipient without the use of protracted immunosuppressive medications.

The immune system may misbehave in people with Type 1 diabetes and begin to attack the individual itself. Due to the absence of insulin production, people with Type 1 diabetes are unable to control their blood sugar levels. Loss of vision, renal damage, and heart disease are just a few of the potentially fatal issues that could arise from this lack of control.

Professors Shirwan and Esma Yolcu of the MU School of Medicine have focused on an apoptosis mechanism for the past 20 years in an effort to stop “rogue” immune cells from causing diabetes or rejecting transplanted pancreatic islets. They do this by attaching a molecule called FasL to the islets’ surface. Rogue immune cells undergo a sort of apoptosis when a molecule called FasL interacts with another molecule called Fas, which kills the cells.

The group invented a technique that made it possible to produce a novel type of FasL and present it on microgels or transplanted pancreatic islet cells to stop them from being rejected by rogue cells. Rogue cells mobilise to the graft after an insulin-producing pancreatic islet cell transplant but are destroyed instead by FasL interacting with Fas on their surface.

One benefit of this new technique is the potential to avoid taking immunosuppressive medications for the rest of one’s life.

These medications prevent the immune system from recognising and destroying foreign substances when they are introduced into the body through organ, or in this case, cell, transplants.

The technique is based on technology authorized by a U.S. patent submitted by Georgia Tech and the University of Louisville, and it has now been licenced by a business with intentions to apply for FDA permission for human testing.

The MU researchers worked with Andres Garca and the group at Georgia Tech to attach FasL to the surface of microgels with confirmation of efficacy in a small animal model in order to create the commercial product.

The effectiveness of the FasL-microgel technology was then evaluated in a large animal model in collaboration with Jim Markmann and Ji Lei from Harvard.

Harvard University invents a groundbreaking new Diabetes treatment

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