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"Drug Cocktail May Help Diabetes Patients Make More Insulin Producing Cells" -Dr. Max Gomez

  • CBS New York
  • New York, NY
  • (December 20, 2018)

There could be a major advance towards a cure for diabetes. Researchers at Mount Sinai are reporting on a drug cocktail that helps the body make more insulin-producing cells. In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system is destroying insulin-making beta cells. A number of researchers are making progress towards shutting down that auto-immune destruction. But in order to make enough insulin to control blood sugar, a diabetic would still have to replace the beta cells. Some scientists are trying transplants or stem cells. “Those probably aren’t enough to meet the need for millions of diabetics,” said Andrew Stewart, MD, director of the Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “We’ve identified a cocktail of drugs that increases the multiplication rate from 2 percent up to as much as 10 or 15 percent,” he added. Dr. Stewart said that’s enough to normalize blood sugar in diabetics. The drugs have made human beta cells replicate in petri dishes, transplanted mice and several other ways. Now the challenge is finding a way to deliver the drugs just to the pancreas, where the remaining beta cells live.

—Andrew Stewart, MD, Director of the Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism Institute, Professor, Medicine, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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Additional coverage: U.S. News & World Report; Crain’s Health Pulse (subscription required); Scientific American; Newsmax Health