The Problem of Not Enough Beta Cells in Type 1 Diabetes

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Dr. Susan Bonner-Weir conducts diabetes research on beta cells at Joslin Diabetes Center

Dr. Bonner-Weir is a Senior Investigator in the Section on Islet Transplantation and Cell Biology at Joslin and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Here’s how it’s supposed to work: Sprinkled throughout the pancreas, tiny collections of beta cells generate the small amount of insulin needed each day, with their production exquisitely calibrated minute-by-minute with blood glucose levels.

But in type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune attack seeks and destroys these important but fragile cells.

Joslin scientists are leading the way in the quickly advancing research to find new sources for beta cells—including “progenitor” cells located in the pancreas that can morph into beta cells—and to develop innovative ways to make more copies of surviving cells.

Just as critical are efforts to ensure that any newly formed beta cells are fully functional and that they can survive the ordeal of transplantation.

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One Response to The Problem of Not Enough Beta Cells in Type 1 Diabetes

  1. Staci says:

    I hope for all of us long timers and short timers can have the peace of knowing there might be help in our lifetime.

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