Researchers have successfully created a novel biomaterial that can be seeded with insulin-producing beta cells. Implantation of the beta cell-seeded biomaterial reversed diabetes in a mouse model by effectively normalizing glucose levels and significantly increasing survival. The research results will be presented Monday, March 19, at ENDO 2018, the annual 100th meeting of the Endocrine Society in Chicago, Ill.
“Implications for our studies present a viable and sustainable treatment to restore normal glucose levels without having to ever depend on external insulin administration,” said lead author Diana Elizondo, a graduate student at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Beta cells of the pancreas produce, store and release the hormone insulin, which is responsible for regulating levels of glucose in the blood. When blood glucose levels start to rise during digestion, beta cells quickly respond by secreting some of their stored insulin while at the same time increasing production of the hormone. As blood glucose falls, the amount of insulin secreted by the pancreas goes down.