Spleen cell research into diabetes

Tue, 28 Nov 2006
Denise Faustman, the director of the Immunology Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital is investigating the role of spleen cells in the treatment of type 1 diabetes, with the help of a team of investigators. The research has been published in the journal Science .

The researchers are investigating whether diabetic mice who are injected with spleen cells from non-diabetic mice can ‘learn’ to teach new immune cells to recognise bodily tissue and not destroy it. At its ultimate level, this would result in a cure for type 1 diabetes.

Faustman said: "The unanswered question from that study was whether this was an example of rescuing a few remaining islet cells in the diabetic mice or of regeneration of the insulin-secreting islets from another source. We've found that islet regeneration was occurring and that cells were growing from both the recipient's own cells and from the donor cells."

If the theories regarding the treatment prove correct the discovery could be replicated with other diseases such as lupus or Crohn’s.
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