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Archive - 02 - 2011

Home Urine Test Measures Insulin Production in Diabetes

Posted by dlife on Mon, Feb 28, 11, 09:49 AM 0 Comment

February 28, 2011 (Peninsula College of Medicine & Dentistry) A simple home urine test has been developed which can measure if patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are producing their own insulin. The urine test, from Professor Andrew Hattersleys Exeter-based team at the Peninsula Medical School, replaces multiple blood tests in hospital and can be sent by post as it is stable for up to three days at room temperature. Avoiding blood tests will be a particular advantage for children.The urine test measures if patients are still making their own insulin even if they take insulin injections. Researchers have shown that the test can be used to differentiate Type 1 diabetes from Type 2 diabetes and rare genetic forms of diabetes. Making the correct diagnosis can result in important changes in treatment and the discontinuation of insulin in some cases.Jillian, 35 has recently benefitted from the home urine test. She was diagnosed with diabetes aged 19 and put on insulin injections. The urine test identified that she is still making her own insulin 14 years after being diagnosed and a DNA test confirmed that she has a genetic type of diabetes. After 14 years of insulin treatment, Jillian is now off her insulin injections.Being told I dont have to take insulin injections any more has changed my life, she said.The key studies, led by Dr Rachel Besser and Dr Angus Jones and were funded by Diabetes UK and the National Institute of Health Research, are published in leading diabetes journals, Diabetes Care and Diabetic Medicine.Dr Rachel Besser, who has led the studies on over 300 patients, commented: The urine test offers a practical alternative to blood testing. As the urine test can be done in the patients own home we hope that it will be taken up more readily, and more patients can be correctly diagnosed and be offered the correct treatment.Dr. Iain Frame, Director of Research at leading health charity Diabetes UK, said: Dr. Bessers research is an excellent example of Diabetes UKs commitment to fund scientists at the beginning of their careers in diabetes research. With growing numbers of people with diabetes, its more important than ever to ensure that medically trained graduates are encouraged to enter the field of diabetes research to help improve the lives of people with the condition. Many aspects of diabetes, from diagnosis to treatment, are invasive. Therefore, we welcome Dr. Bessers research and look forward to further developments.

Scientists Find a New Way Insulin-Producing Cells Die

Posted by dlife on Mon, Feb 28, 11, 09:25 AM 0 Comment

February 25, 2011 (University of Texas Health Science Center) The death of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas is a core defect in diabetes. Scientists in Italy and Texas now have discovered a new way that these cells die by toxic imbalance of a molecule secreted by other pancreatic cells.Our study shows that neighboring cells called alpha cells can behave like adversaries for beta cells. This was an unexpected finding, said Franco Folli, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine/diabetes at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He is co-lead author on the study with Carla Perego, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology at the University of Milan.Alpha and beta cells are grouped in areas of the pancreas called the islets of Langerhans. Alpha cells make the hormone that raises blood sugar, glucagon, during fasting. In the same environment the beta cells make the hormone that lowers sugars, insulin, after a meal. Imbalance ultimately leads to diabetes.We found that glutamate, a major signaling molecule in the brain and pancreas, is secreted together with glucagon by alpha cells and affects beta cell integrity, Dr. Folli said. In a situation where there is an imbalance toward more alpha cells and fewer beta cells, as in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, this could result in further beta cell destruction.Glutamate toxicity is a new mechanism of beta cell destruction not previously known, Drs. Perego and Folli said. It has not been typically thought that alpha cells could themselves be a cause of beta cell damage, they said.The study also found a protection for beta cells, namely, a protein called GLT1 that controls glutamate levels outside the beta cells. GLT1 is like a thermostat controlling the microenvironment of beta cells with respect to glutamate concentration, Dr. Perego said.A diagnostic test for glutamate toxicity in the islets of Langerhans is being developed by the authors, Dr. Folli said. Eventually an intervention to slow the process could follow.Glutamate poisoning is a new candidate mechanism for beta cell destruction in diabetes. Others are high glucose, buildup of a protein called amyloid, and free fatty acids, which are found in patients with type 2 diabetes.The vicious cycle in diabetes is that there are several substances that have been shown, also by us, to be toxic to beta cells, Dr. Folli said. And now we have found a new one, glutamate.The Journal of Biological Chemistry published the study online this week. The work of Dr. Perego is supported by a grant from the Italian Ministry of University. Dr. Follis work is supported by the National Institutes of Health. The authors said the finding emphasizes the importance of international collaborations in biomedical knowledge advancement.

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