Artificial insulin-releasing cells may make it easier to manage diabetes | Science News

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Artificial insulin-releasing cells may make it easier to manage diabetes

Injecting the synthetic structures into mice regulated their blood sugar levels for several days

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12:00pm, November 3, 2017
Artificial insulin-secreting cells

SUGAR CHECK Artificial insulin-secreting cells (shown in this false color cryo-electron microscopy image) could offer automatic, ultrafine blood sugar regulation for diabetes patients.

Artificial cells made from scratch in the lab could one day offer a more effective, patient-friendly diabetes treatment.

Diabetes, which affects more than 400 million people around the world, is characterized by the loss or dysfunction of insulin-making beta cells in the pancreas. For the first time researchers have created synthetic cells that mimic how natural beta cells sense blood sugar concentration and secrete just the right amount of insulin. Experiments with mice show that these cells can regulate blood sugar for up to five days, researchers report online October 30 in Nature Chemical Biology.

If the mouse results translate to humans, diabetics could inject these artificial beta cells to automatically regulate their blood sugar levels for days at a time.

That would be a “a huge leap forward” for diabetic

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