Protein Gel Could Help Treat Type 1 Diabetes | New Scientist
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People with type 1 diabetes have to inject insulin to regulate their blood sugar, as their immune system mistakenly attacks islet beta cells in the pancreas that normally produce the blood-sugar-lowering hormone insulin. Transplanting islet beta cells from deceased donors can enable people with type 1 diabetes to produce their own insulin, but recipients require lifelong immunosuppressive drugs to prevent the cells being rejected. This dampens their immune system, putting them at greater risk of infections and cancer. Looking for an alternative treatment, Ji Lei at Harvard Medical School and his colleagues injected a natural agent called streptozotocin, which kills islet beta cells, into seven monkeys, inducing type 1 diabetes. Twelve days later, the scientists took islets from healthy monkeys, mixing them with the microgels.