New Harvard Diabetes Treatment Could Change Lives of Millions of People

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With the help of Harvard and Georgia Tech, researchers at the University of Missouri are working to develop a novel therapy for diabetes that includes transplanting insulin-producing pancreatic cells into the body. About 1.8 million Americans have type 1 diabetes, according to current estimates. If you’re above the age of 18, you’re at risk for developing type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is still untreatable, despite the efforts of researchers. Taking insulin, keeping a close eye on your food, keeping an eye on your blood sugar levels, and getting regular exercise are all options for treatment. A novel therapy procedure has also just been found by scientists.

On May 13th, scientists from the University of Missouri, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Harvard University published a paper in Science Advances demonstrating the effective use of a novel therapy for Type 1 diabetes in a large animal model. The pancreatic islets, which produce insulin, may be transferred from a donor to a recipient without the need for long-term immunosuppressive drugs, according to their approach.

A new approach

As MU School of Medicine, professor Haval Shirwan tells it, the immune system of persons with Type 1 diabetes may fail, resulting in a self-inflicted wound, which may be fatal.
Blood sugar control is made more difficult by the body’s inability to generate or use the hormone insulin. Due to a lack of insulin production, people with Type 1 diabetes struggle to keep a handle on their blood sugar levels. Heart disease, renal damage, and eyesight loss may all occur from a lack of control. It is a huge step forward in the process of bench-to-bedside research, or how laboratory data may be used by patients to assist treat various illnesses and disorders, a characteristic of MU’s NextGen Precision Health strategy.

An effort called NextGen Precision Health brings together researchers like Shirwan and Yolcu from MU and three other research institutions in the UM System to pursue life-changing precision health improvements. It’s a joint endeavor to benefit the health of Missourians and the rest of the world by using the research resources of the University of Missouri. With its state-of-the-art research facility, the MU Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health building serves as the foundation of the whole effort.

Susan Kowal
Susan Kowal is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor/advisor, and health enthusiast.