Scientists in Barcelona claim they have created a cure for type 1 diabetes in dogs, marking a huge step towards finding a potential cure in humans.
The researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona say that a single session of gene therapy was successful in curing type 1 diabetes. The canines returned to normal health, showing good glucose control at all times and no symptoms of the disease. In addition, they improved their body weight and had not developed any secondary complications of diabetes four years after receiving the treatment.
The therapy consists of various injections in the animal’s rear legs, which introduce gene therapy vectors to express the insulin and glucokinase genes.Both act together to function as a “glucose sensor,” automatically regulating the uptake of glucose from the blood and thus reducing high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia).
The team have already tested this type of treatment on diabetic mice, but this study marks the first time it has been used on large animals and is the first to report optimal long-term (over 4 years) control of diabetes in large animals.
Lead researcher Fàtima Bosch said: “This study is the first to demonstrate a long-term cure for diabetes in a large animal model using gene therapy .”
According to Bosch and her team, this approach to gene therapy can be translated to human patients once more safety and efficacy studies are done on companion animals, meaning it could one day be used to cure humans with type 1 diabetes .
The findings from this breakthrough study are published in the journal Diabetes .

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