It May Take Guts to Cure Diabetes -Human GI Cells Retrained to Produce Insulin
Imagine taking cells from your gastrointestinal tract and then switching off one gene, the FOXO1 gene, and then ending up with insulin producing cells. From gut cell to diabetes fighter in one easy gene switch-off. Scientists did this successfully in 2012 in mice and recently in humans. What does the FOXO1 say? ‘Here’s more insulin!’ Awesome.
The next step is where it gets…awkward. I’d like this information to generate a gene therapy protocol or to improve success rates in stem cell/Diabetes treatment protocols, etc. But that’s not the way our system works. The next step is to find a drug that inhibits the FOXO1 gene so it “…could retrain cells inside a person’s GI tract to produce insulin…” Unfortunately, this drug will also have side effects as all drugs do which will create other symptoms requiring other drugs to mitigate. And so it goes.
When will US Diabetes patients be able to benefit from a medical protocol based on this discovery? An educated guess puts it at:
7-10 years for clinical trials and drug development for a name brand Pharma product and then 10-15 years for the drug patent to open up to an affordable generic.
Sorry Diabetes patients.
New York, NY (June 30, 2014) “By switching off a single gene, scientists at Columbia University’s Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center have converted human gastrointestinal cells into insulin-producing cells, demonstrating in principle that a drug could retrain cells inside a person’s GI tract to produce insulin…The Columbia researchers were able to teach human gut cells to make insulin in response to physiological circumstances by deactivating the cells’ FOXO1 gene.”