Promising New Type 1 Diabetes Treatment From Harvard Scientists
Good news! Scientists from Harvard University, Georgia Tech, and the University of Missouri have created a new treatment for type 1 diabetes that involves transplanting insulin-producing pancreatic cells. Type 1 diabetes is estimated to affect 1.8 million Americans and despite treatment options, currently has no cure. Now researchers have developed a new treatment option by taking pancreatic islets from a donor and transplanting them into a patient. The new method has been recently deployed in an animal model and would forego the need for long term use of immunosuppressant drugs to be effective.
The method used to prevent the need for immunosuppressant drugs has been developed over the last twenty years by Havan Shirwal and Esma Yolcu professors of child health and molecular microbiology and immunology at University of Missouri School of Medicine. They accomplished the achievement by adding a molecule called FasL to the donor pancreatic islets, which prevents the patient's immune system from targeting the foreign cells.