General News

Stem cell therapy grows new blood vessels

JDRF-funded researchers in Canada have successfully used specially selected stem cells to grow new blood vessels to treat the vascular complications of diabetes.

Lead researcher Dr David Hess isolated and purified three different types of stem cell from bone marrow, then injected this compound into mice with major blood vessel damage. He found that the stem cells had a natural ability to hone into the area requiring repair, and treatment resulted in significantly improved blood flow for the mice.

This research is now being tested in a multi-centre clinical trial run by the biopharmaceutical company Aldagen.

Blood epub ahead of print

Scientists discover a link between eczema and diabetic wound-healing

Researchers from the University of California have discovered that a protein called caspase 8 is deficient in people with eczema but produced excessively by people with diabetes.

Caspase 8 stimulates inflammation at the wound site, it also stimulates the production of stem cells that work to rapidly close the wound and promote healing. People with eczema therefore have an overactive response, where the body accumulates an overabundance of skin cells resulting in the characteristic thick and peeling skin common to this condition.

People with diabetes have a lacklustre wound healing response meaning small wounds, minor cuts and scrapes can develop into something more dangerous and complicated.

Nature 458(7237):519-23

New treatment for retinopathy

JDRF-funded researchers from the Joslin Institute in Boston, in collaboration with biopharmaceutical company ActiveSite, have developed a promising new approach for treating retinopathy.

Using a rodent model, researchers were able to prevent retinal blood vessels from leaking – a major cause of retinopathy in diabetics – by inhibiting the action of a specific enzyme called kallikrien. Another positive side effect of the treatment was that it also reduced high blood pressure, another contributing factor to diabetic eye disease.

Researchers are now looking to expand their studies with the possibility of human trials in the near future.

Hypertension 53: 175-181

Breath testing for diabetes

US researchers have developed a novel breath test method for detecting the onset of type 1 diabetes in people who are known to be at risk of developing the condition.

Scientists conducted a blood glucose tolerance test on a number of subjects with and without diabetes, collecting breath samples as well as blood samples. They found that people with known pre-diabetes had a significantly reduced amount of carbon dioxide in their breath when they had high blood glucose. Whilst this test is still in early stages, it is hoped that it will soon provide an option for non-invasive and speedy testing of at-risk individuals.

Diabetes Care 32: 430-435

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