From Indiana, USA:
In all that I have read about Type 1 diabetes, beta cells are referred to as being destroyed. Do these cells remain in place but simply do not function? Is it possible that they are sort of "asleep" or being suppressed and as such could be revitalized or restimulated to function?
The beta cells are actually destroyed in autoimmune diabetes, although the process usually takes a number of years to complete. Interestingly enough there is quite a lot of work going on inducing islet cell regeneration from pancreatic duct tissue. This is still at the animal stage and of course the main concern is that as long as the disorder of the immune system persists then even regenerated islets would be destroyed. Perhaps one day better understanding of both regeneration and of modifying immune responses may become competitive with some form of transplantation.
Original posting 9 Nov 97
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