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Note on Genes-physiology

Making new beta cells

At its most basic level, diabetes results from the lack of insulin producing beta cells. Beta cell loss of over 90% occurs before the onset of type 1 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes only becomes difficult to treat when the continually progressive but undulating beta cell loss that is part of the basic pathology progresses to a point where more than metformin is needed for treatment. Pancreas and beta cell transplants are limited in availability and stem cell research progresses slowly, so that current options are limited to exogenous insulin treatment. The growing field of beta cell regeneration offers another pathway, and today researchers from Stanford published promising results in mouse models, tipping glucagon-producing alpha cells into fledgling insulin-producing beta cells. They used a two-step reprogramming approach, targeting Dnmt1 to make alpha cells lose their glucagon-specific identity, and Arx to further tip them toward beta-cell-like insulin production.

See abstract here.

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