Research sheds new light on beta cell regeneration in the newly diagnosed
A research study has shown that after diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, the pancreas has the ability to replenish its own insulin-producing cells.
JDRF funded researchers from the Peninsula Medical School worked with colleagues from Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the University of Brighton to test the pancreas tissue of patients who died soon after diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.
The results of the research offer the hope that, in the future, it might be possible to develop therapies to encourage a person newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes to reproduce their own beta cells as a means of replacing those being destroyed by the condition.
These findings are of note because until now, it has been generally believed that in humans, beta cells divide at a very slow rate after the first year or so of life and that they do not readily multiply once type 1 diabetes is diagnosed. This current study presents evidence that there is a 10-fold increase in islet cell replication in patients recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
The factors that cause this replication process in people with type 1 diabetes are still unclear, although the study suggests there may be a link between the appearance of immune cells in the system and when this process usually kicks in.
Although these are early stage findings, JDRF is positive about the impact this could have for people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the future. If you are interested in supporting JDRF in finding the cure for type 1 diabetes through our global research programme, you can donate here