In this segment, we'll look at new research in the battle against diabetes, and efforts to cure Type 1 diabetes by regrowing islet cells. In 2001, Science Friday listeners heard about work in which it appeared that a stem cell treatment was regrowing the insulin-producing islet cells found in the pancreas in mice with Type 1 diabetes. Later, researchers found a different explanation for the finding, saying that an immune response was the cause of the improvement. Writing this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers provide an update on the work, reporting that they have been able to selectively kill the defective autoimmune cells that were destroying insulin-producing islets in samples of human blood.
Targeting the immune T cells was a successful strategy in mouse models. The new finding could allow a human clinical trial to proceed. We'll talk about the work, as well as what it takes to get a diabetes treatment that seems to work in mice to clinical trials in people.
Produced by Annette Heist, Senior Producer