The media has come alive, exciting the type 1 diabetes (T1D) community, following the publication of findings of a new hormone in Cell on April 25. The previously unknown hormone, called betatrophin, was found in a mouse study to have the unique ability to promote the natural replication of insulin-producing beta cells. While media reports [...]
JDRF-supported researchers have found that dysfunction of pancreatic beta cells precedes the onset of T1D in a mouse model of the disease. The study is the first direct demonstration that ER stress happens before the onset of T1D in an animal model. These findings help illuminate the earliest stages of T1D, and suggest that alleviating ER stress with drugs or other therapeutics might provide an avenue for slowing progression and onset of disease.
Scientists have identified a pathway that allows beta cells to divide when they are young, but which turns off as the cells age. Finding drugs that could activate this pathway may provide a new way to make older beta cells divide again. This may be part of a strategy to maintain a quantity of beta
cells that is sufficient to restore insulin production in T1D.
An important protein involved in beta cell growth is snipped in T1D. Scientists have now identified the culprit—a molecular scissors called Bace2—and identified a chemical compound that inactivates it in mice. This inhibitor renews beta cell growth and could potentially lead to new strategies to promote beta cell regeneration to treat T1D. This is a key example of how science can advance when academic and industry scientists work together.
JDRF’s partnership with the Israel Science Foundation extends JDRF’s global research base and leverages JDRF research dollars to help people who are at risk for type 1 diabetes and improve the lives of those already living with the disease.
JDRF and sanofi-aventis have entered into a unique partnership to develop treatments for type 1 diabetes. The focus is on people at all different stages of the disease – from those newly diagnosed to people living with it for many years – as well as on preventing diabetes in those at risk for it. Under [...]
Each of these regeneration programs will help to accelerate one of JDRF’s key research goals: finding ways to restore the body’s ability to make insulin.
The findings provide important insight into a possible regenerative therapy for type 1 diabetes. Researchers now have two potential cell targets for regeneration—progenitor cells and the alpha cells—as well as a critical gene and pathway that can be used to screen for drugs that target these cells.
The partnership between JDRF and GNF aims to deliver a succession of diabetes drug candidates to the clinic over the next four years, beginning with regeneration.
“The investigators independently identified pathways that regulate how beta cells regenerate and that explain why these cells stop replicating with age,” said Patricia Kilian, Ph.D., Director of JDRF’s Regeneration program. “This is exciting, since it suggests that controlling these pathways might enable us to restore the capability to regenerate insulin-producing cells to treat diabetes, even in older people. These findings provide new tools and insights for finding a means to overcome the loss of beta cells.”