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New directions for Type 1 diabetes treatment come from a pair of studies


WASHINGTON Two studies have found possible new treatments for diabetes.

Both studies seek to address the causes of Type 1 diabetes, which affects about 10 percent of diabetics, according to the International Diabetes Federation. Type 1 diabetes results from immune cells that attack cells in the pancreas that produce insulin to reduce blood sugar.

One team, at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, used a tuberculosis drug called bacillus Calmette-Guerin on blood from diabetics and found that it killed the “bad” CD8 T-cells that destroyed the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, but left the “good” T-cells alone.

Another team at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas used a virus to transport the gene for the hormone leptin to the damaged pancreases of mice, which caused their livers to produce insulin.

The two studies were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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