The amazing researchers at Technion are at it again! Recently Israeli scientists announced the success of an experiment on diabetic mice where a one-time tissue implant reversed their diabetes for four months. Scientists are hopeful the technology can be used to benefit the estimated 460 million people worldwide living with Type 2 diabetes and its effects.
The study was conducted at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, then peer-reviewed and recently published in Science Advances.
Rita Beckerman, Professor Shulamit Levenberg, and their team grew healthy muscle tissue in the lab and implanted it into the abdominal wall of eight mice with Type 2 diabetes. The researchers used muscle stem cells from the mice (their own cells!) and engineered them to produce high levels of GLUT4. GLUT4 molecules are responsible for transporting insulin-regulated glucose into the body through the skeletal muscles.
The scientists found that the modified GLUT4 molecules implanted back into the diabetic mice started to absorb and process sugar correctly, resulting in a 26 percent drop on average in the blood glucose levels of the mice, affectively reversing their diabetes, and the effects lasted for four months.
"It's such a novel approach that we really didn't know what to expect, but we were extremely happy with the result," Beckerman said. "This could potentially, in the future, give human patients with Type 2 diabetes the possibility of having an implant and then going for a few months without taking any medications."