My niece nearly died from diabetes complicactions just before Thanksgiving. Shortly after being diagnosed with child onset diabetes (type 1), she suffered toxic shock syndrome. Before eating her Thanksgiving meal she needed to get blood from her finger, measure her blood sugar, calculate the amount of insulin needed for the food she would eat, then inject the proper amount via a needle into her body.
At Christmas time I shared with her that perhaps within a few years, a cure for her diabetes would be available. In a breed of mice genetically predestined to develop diabetes, researchers discovered that
after just one injection of a neuropeptide called "substance P" the diabetes disappeared overnight and the mice remained diabetes-free for weeks, and even months in some cases.sickkids.ca
This research is reported in the December 15 issue of the journal, Cell.
Scientists at a Toronto hospital found that malfunctioning pain neurons in the pancreas might be the cause of diabetes. This upsets conventional wisdom that Type 1 diabetes is caused by an auto-immune response.
“We started to look at nervous system elements that seemed to play a role in Type 1 diabetes and found that specific sensory neurons are critical for islet immune attack in the pancreas,” said Dr. Hans Michael Dosch, study principal investigator, senior scientist at SickKids and professor of Paediatrics and Immunology at the University of Toronto. “These nerves secrete insufficient neuropeptides which sustain normal islet function, creating a vicious circle of progressive islet stress.”
The researchers caution they have yet to confirm their findings in people, but say they expect results from human studies within a year or so. Any treatment that may emerge to help at least some patients would likely be years away from hitting the market. Canada.com-National Post