Hormone Dramatically Increases Insulin Production, Possible Diabetes Breakthrough

Editor's Choice Main Category: Diabetes Article Date: 26 Apr 2013 - 9:00 PDT

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The authors wrote that betatrophin might also help patients with type 1 diabetes, or juvenile diabetes when they are first diagnosed.

In animal experiments the researchers found that betatrophin caused laboratory mice to produce beta cells at up to 30 times the normal rate. Beta cells are the insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas - put simply, beta cells produce insulin.

These new beta cells only produce insulin when the body requires it. The scientists explained that this breakthrough could mean that type 2 diabetes patients may have a natural regulation of insulin, plus a considerable reduction in diabetes-related complications. Diabetes is a major cause of amputations and non-genetic loss of vision.

HSCI Co-Director Doug Melton and postdoctoral fellow Peng Yi, who both discovered betatrophin, stressed that a great deal of work remains to be done before trying the hormone out on humans. They added that their work so far, which was mainly funded by a federal research grant, has already attracted the attention of pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Doug Melton, who is Harvard's Xander University Professor and co-chair of the University's Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, said:

Type 2 diabetes prevalence in the USA has increased considerably over the last thirty years, in parallel with rising obesity rates, the authors explained. The illness causes patients to gradually lose beta cells, as well as the ability to produce enough insulin.

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Hormone Dramatically Increases Insulin Production, Possible Diabetes Breakthrough

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