Targeting Gene Might Aid Type 1 Treatment
In a surprise finding, cells in mouse intestines started producing insulin after researchers turned off a gene. This unexpected result has the potential to someday spur the development of new treatments for type 1 diabetes. The gut cells began to act like insulin-producing pancreatic cells when researchers blocked the Foxo1 gene, which controls the maturation of stem cells into adult cells. The cells deprived of Foxo1 produced enough insulin to nearly normalize blood glucose levels in diabetic mice. The researchers say these findings suggest that medications targeting Foxo1 genes could turn the guts of people with type 1 into insulin factories, though Foxo1 studies in people are still far off.
Source: Nature Genetics, March 11, 2012