Published: Jan 31, 2015
Recently a study on diabetes was posted on Diabetes, the journal. It was shown that John March along with his colleagues were capable in finding a cure for diabetes levels in rats.
An organ called pancreas in our bodies, releases insulin to keep the blood sugar levels in check. When either the pancreas is not able to secrete insulin or the insulin is ineffective towards the control of blood sugar, that condition is called diabetes.
This results in higher blood sugar levels than normal and called hyperglycemia. Due to this other organs of the body are impaired which can cause stroke, nerve damage and/or heart diseases.
The researchers, from Cornell, put forward the idea that bacteria found in the human gut was able to reduce blood glucose in diabetic rats. According to the report of National Diabetes Statistics of 2014, 9.3% of the American population has diabetes. From the outcome of this new study, the researchers believe that they could be closer to achieving the cure for this chronic disease.
The harmless bacteria, Lactobacillus, could release GLP-1 (Glucagon-like peptide 1) due to the engineering done by the researchers. Lactobacillus, a probiotic, is commonly used to treat skin disorders, diarrhea and/or Crohn’s disease. This hormone, GLP-1, would release insulin during the intake of food. When injected in mice, the blood sugar level reduced by almost 30%!
The research was conducted for 3 months, straight. The engineered probiotic was inserted in one batch of mice, who were diabetic. Throughout the 90 days, these rats were closely monitored along with the other group of diabetic rats which were not receiving the probiotic.
After the duration, it was found that the blood sugar level in the rats which received the probiotic has 30% lower blood sugar levels than those who did not.
The researchers believe that the probiotic had caused the epithelial cells of the intestine to behave like pancreatic cells which releases insulin regulating blood sugar levels in humans.
When the diabetic rats (with probiotics) were compared with normal rats, which didn’t have diabetes, it was noticed that the total time taken for blood sugar levels to lower after a meal was similar in both the groups. March added that the duty to control blood sugar levels in the diabetic rats was being moved from pancreatic cells to intestinal cells due to the injection of the probiotic.
March and his colleagues are not preparing to try another research including more doses of the engineered probiotic to see the effects. They are expecting positive results.
March said that the probiotic was also given to the normal rats but no change was noticed. It is because if the glucose levels are already in control, then the rats do not require more insulin.
The researchers have already contacted a company to produce the probiotic for humans. The biopharmaceutical company, BioPancreate, and the researchers believe that if successful, this could be the ultimate cure for the disease.