Back to Ask the Diabetes Team Ask the Diabetes Team

From New York, USA:

I recently read about a new gene discovery which regenerates islet cells. Eli Lilly announced it on April 10, 1997. A snippet of their press release says:

Diabetes Institutes researchers isolate gene, protein involved in pancreatic islet regeneration.

Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY), Eastern Virginia Medical School and McGill University announced today a licensing agreement regarding the discovery of a gene and its related products that could potentially play a key role in treating diabetes more effectively.

Why hasn't this gotten more publicity? Do you think it is a cure?


I am sorry not to be able to answer your question precisely because I did not hear or read the announcement (and neither did any of my colleagues who work mostly in the laboratory). What I did learn is that a number of centers have been interested in a protein that has the capacity to induce islet cell formation from pancreatic duct tissue in animals. The protein has been sequenced and the DNA cloned so that the potential for gene therapy is there. At the same time it is probable that any cell which can be induced to make insulin will be a target of the immune system disorder in Type 1 Diabetes. This approach then is likely to be limited to insulin dependant Type 2 Diabetics and a few rare forms of diabetes in which there is also insulin resistance.

It would be a mistake to think that this idea can move quickly to a stage of therapeutic benefit in man; for one thing gene therapy has so far been disappointing (e.g., in cystic fibrosis). Nonetheless the theme is of considerable interest and I am sure it will take its place alongside advances in islet transplantation and new drugs in the future management of diabetes.


[Editor's note: See Experimental gene therapy offers hope to diabetics for the press release. JSH]

Original posting 3 May 97


  Back to Ask the Diabetes Team Return to the Top of This Page

Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional.

This site is published by T-1 Today, Inc. (d/b/a Children with Diabetes), a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, which is responsible for its contents. Our mission is to provide education and support to families living with type 1 diabetes.
By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Legal Notice, and Privacy Policy.
© Children with Diabetes, Inc. 1995-2018. Comments and Feedback.