Dr. Urano's Blog

Residual Beta Cells and Neurons

I am very interested in the study conduced at Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston. Their study suggests that some Type 1 diabetic patients may still make insulin even after 50 years of diabetes. It seems like that many patients with Type 1 diabetes still have residual beta cells. These beta cells do not provide enough amount of insulin to maintain normoglycemia. So patients need insulin.

Why am I interested in residual cells? There is a big difference between no residual cells and some residual cells. If we can enhance the function of residual beta cells and activate the proliferation of these cells, we may be able to increase the QOL of our patients. This is another aspect of regenerative medicine. Instead of replacing damaged tissues using stem cells, we are also trying to enhance the function of residual cells. This approach should be applicable to neuronal and retinal ganglion cells. The study is ongoing and we are getting encouraging preclinical data. Our current focus is to delay the progression using drugs, but we need to develop methods for enhancing the function and proliferation of residual beta cells and neurons.

Thank you for reading this blog. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

Kindest regards,

Fumi Urano