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Collaborative Success Stories: Beating Diabetes

Collaborative Success Stories: Beating Diabetes

University of Missouri researchers have cured type 1 diabetes in mice.

Scientists have long known that Type 1 Diabetes attacks insulin-producing pancreatic cells, also called beta cells. A team of MU researchers led by Habib Zaghouani discovered that tiny pancreatic blood vessels, which work symbiotically with beta cells, are also under attack.

In previous experiments, Zaghouani found that treating diabetic mice could protect beta cells from new attacks. However, it did not affect previously damaged cells and thus, could not reverse disease.

In hopes of regenerating the beta cells, the researchers treated the mice with bone marrow stem cells, in addition to treatment. The cells led to growth of new blood vessels, which then caused new beta cells to grow. The mice were cured of diabetes and remained disease-free throughout their lifespan.

Zaghouani has patented the treatment and in the future hopes to create a human version. The research could someday lead to successful treatments for diabetes and other human autoimmune diseases.

Dr. Habib Zaghouani is a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology in the School of Medicine.

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Related Initiative(s):
One Health/One Medicine