Potential diabetes breakthrough Harvard researchers discover hormone that spurs beta cell production

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betatrophin_cell

Betatrophin causes a specific increase in pancreatic β cell replication. Betatrophin is a secreted protein expressed in liver and fat. The increase in β cell replication and mass improves glycemic control. (Credit: Peng Yi, Ji-Sun Park, Douglas A. Melton/Cell)

Potential diabetes breakthrough

Harvard researchers discover hormone that spurs beta cell production

Researchers at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) have discovered a hormone that holds promise for a dramatically more effective treatment of type 2 diabetes, a metabolic illness afflicting an estimated 26 million Americans.

The researchers believe that the hormone might also have a role in treating type 1, or juvenile, diabetes.

The work was published by the journal Cell.

The hormone, called betatrophin, causes mice to produce insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cells at up to 30 times the normal rate. The new beta cells only produce insulin when called for by the body, offering the potential for the…

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