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February 15, 2000

Research: Cure

Question from San Jose, California, USA:

I am a type 1 diabetic, and I was wondering what info you could give me on the protein they are testing on lab mice that has cured their diabetes, and how it affects people.


Although I don’t know which protein you are referring to, I can tell you that there is a huge amount of research going on into the prevention of diabetes but there are no definitive answers yet. Unfortunately, there are quite a number of things that can be given to mice to prevent diabetes but mice are not people so the results do not transfer directly. Nonetheless, such research helps to point us in the right direction.

Additional comments from Dr. Donough O’Brien:

I am not aware of any protein that has actually cured diabetes in mice. A number of proteins however, have been identified which promote the development of pancreatic duct and islet tissue in laboratory animals They have names like ‘Karatinocyte Growth Factor’ and PTP or ‘Pancreatic Thread Protein’ and you can learn more about them by searching in PubMed under ‘Islet Cell Regeneration’. In practical terms this research is nowhere near the point at which it might be considered as a treatment for Type 1 diabetes in man. In the first place any new tissue would be vulnerable to destruction by the same abnormal immune process that brought about the diabetes originally.