Implant reverses type 1 diabetes in mice by delivering beta cells was written by Leigh Ann Green for, 12 June 2021.  

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, and Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, have collaborated to develop a tiny implant that successfully delivers insulin-secreting cells, or beta cells, into mice with diabetes, without the need for immunosuppressive drug treatment.  The study appears in the June 2 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

Beta cells are unique cells in the pancreas that produce, store, and release insulin. Dr. Jeffrey R. Millman, one of the researchers, had previously participated in research that led to a method to make pluripotent stem cells — that is, cells that can give rise to several different cell types — and then grow those cells into insulin-secreting beta cells.  “We can take a person’s skin or fat cells, make them into stem cells, and then grow those stem cells into insulin-secreting cells,” said Dr. Millman. “The problem is that in people with type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks those insulin-secreting cells and destroys them.” 

The team of researchers developed a nanofiber-integrated cell encapsulation, or NICE, device. After filling NICE implants with stem cell-derived, insulin-secreting beta cells, the researchers inserted the devices into the abdomens of mice with chemically induced diabetes.  Diabetes correction occurred within 1 week of the implantation of the NICE devices. The cells in the implants continued to secrete insulin, control blood sugar, and reverse diabetes in the treated mice for up to 200 days with no drugs administered to suppress their immune systems.

“The device, which is about the width of a few strands of hair, is microporous — with openings too small for other cells to squeeze into — so the insulin-secreting cells consequently can’t be destroyed by immune cells, which are larger than the openings,” said Dr. Millman.  “With this device, we seem to have made something in what you might call a Goldilocks zone, where the cells could feel just right inside the device and remain healthy and functional, releasing insulin in response to blood sugar levels.”

Read more:  Implant reverses type 1 diabetes in mice by delivering beta cells

The COVID-19 virus can cause diabetes, according to Dr. Natalie S. Rosen for, 10 June 2021.  New research is finding that the virus may infect and destroy certain cells that are crucial for keeping diabetes at bay. Armed with this new knowledge, scientists are now racing to understand how to best prevent this from happening in patients with COVID-19.

“Earlier lab studies had suggested that [the COVID-19 virus] can infect human beta cells,” said Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, said in a recent blog post. “They also showed that the dangerous virus can replicate in these insulin-producing beta cells to make more copies of itself and spread to other cells.” 

New research from Stanford University School of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medicine confirmed the association between COVID-19 and diabetes. By analyzing autopsy samples from people who died of COVID-19, both studies illustrated the virus’s ability to infect pancreatic beta cells, decrease insulin secretion and effectively yield type 1 diabetes.

“The virus actually destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin,” said Ashton. “[This] decreases insulin levels and then leads directly to high sugar and type 1 diabetes.” 

Read more:  The COVID-19 virus can cause diabetes

Getting to the Bottom of FMTs was discussed by Marissa Town for, 8 June 2021.  

Everyone poops, but talking about it is usually taboo.  (Tab-poo?) But what if we can use poop to alter the microbiome in the intestines and help alleviate symptoms of a variety of illnesses? 

Research is beginning to show us that the gut microbiome affects many things in our body, from the immune system to anxiety and depression.2 Because of the effects on the immune system, scientists have been studying how FMTs affect people with a variety of immune disorders, including autoimmune type 1 diabetes.

In 2020, a study was conducted in the Netherlands in 20 adults aged 18-30 who were recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.3 Half of the participants were given three doses of fecal matter transplants from their own fecal matter and the other half were given three doses of FMT from a healthy donor over a four month period.3 (Rest assured – the FMT’s are odorless and tasteless, making the experience much more palatable.3 It’s usually administered via a tube through the nose and down into the intestines, among other ways.)3

For the group who got the autologous FMT, their C-peptide levels were significantly preserved one year after their treatments and for all participants there was evidence of beta cell function preservation.3 That’s research progress we can get behind.

      1. Fecal microbiota transplantation in human metabolic diseases: From a murky past to a bright future?
      2. Why the Gut Microbiome Is Crucial for Your Health
      3. Faecal microbiota transplantation halts progression of human new-onset type 1 diabetes in a randomised controlled trial

Read more:  Getting to the Bottom of FMTs

People with diabetes who sleep badly are at greater risk of dying prematurely was reported by Sandee LaMotte for, 8 June 2021.  

People with diabetes who had trouble falling or staying asleep were 87% more likely to die of any cause over the next nine years than people without diabetes or sleep problems, a new study finds.  The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of Sleep Research, analyzed data from nearly half a million middle-aged participants in the UK Biobank Study, which houses in-depth genetic and health information on UK residents.

After controlling for medical and lifestyle issues that might also affect sleep, such as age, gender, weight, smoking, depression and other preexisting conditions, the study found that people who slept poorly but did not have diabetes were 11% more likely to die within the nine-year followup period of the study than people without diabetes who slept well.
“People with diabetes, but not sleep disturbances, were 67% more likely to die compared to people with neither diabetes or sleep issues, and 87% more likely to die if they had both diabetes and frequent sleep disturbances,” said study author Kristen Knutson, associate professor of neurology and preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Read more:  People with diabetes who sleep badly are at greater risk of dying prematurely

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