New cystic-fibrosis diabetes variant

Fri, 07 Jul 2006
Scientists in the United States indicate that an increasing number of cystic fibrosis patients are also facing a more deadly strain of diabetes.

The news from the University of Florida was gleaned from animal studies. Researchers found that a form of diabetes appearing amongst patients battling cystic fibrosis has subtle differences to normal type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The disease is not caused by the destruction of pancreatic beta islet cells that produce insulin, instead occurring through cell malfunction.

Cystic fibrosis patients with diabetes produce insulin on their own, yet they require daily injections to boost their levels in order to use sugar and other food nutrients for energy.

Dr. Michael Stalvey, an assistant professor of paediatrics who led the study reportedly said: "for the longest time, the development of diabetes in cystic fibrosis has been thought to be chronic destruction of pancreas, so eventually you get loss of the insulin-producing beta cells. This study provides some early evidence to suggest there is an inherent difference in beta cell function."

The results of the study appear in this month’s issue of the journal Diabetes.
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