From Texas Public Radio:
A possible cure for diabetes is on the horizon for the millions of people who suffer from the disease. The important research is being conducted in San Antonio. The technique is designed to make the body produce insulin on its own again.
Diabetic patients have to use finger pricks to check blood sugar and insulin shots to control their glucose levels.
“It’s part of my daily routine all day and at night before I go to bed, all of it has to be done,” said type two diabetic Denise Shank. She has been a slave to this routine for 29 years. She’s among millions of people who have to take injected insulin to control their blood sugar levels.
“It’s a pain and it’s time consuming,” Shank added. “In other words you can’t just get up in the morning and put your clothes on and go somewhere.”
“This becomes a big burden for diabetic patients,” explained Ralph DeFronzo, MD, a world renown diabetes researcher and director of the Division of Diabetes at UT Health San Antonio. “So it would be nice if they could just go around, not ever have to take another insulin injection, not ever have to do a finger stick for glucose.”
DeFronzo and his colleague, biologist Bruno Doiron, Ph.D., believe they are onto a technique that will be a game changer. It’s called gene transfer.
Using lab-created sections of DNA, scientists injected the pancreases of mice with a cocktail of three molecules delivered by a virus. That virus infects the cells, spreading the new gene information and sparking those cells to produce insulin. Sort of like a cold virus makes your nose run.