90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Thursday, April 25, 2013

Gene Discovery Could Radically Improve Diabetes Treatment

Harvard Stem Cell Institute Co-Director Doug Melton, right, and Peng Yi, a post doctoral fellow in his lab, review data from recent experiments in Melton's lab in Cambridge, Mass. (Harvard University/AP)

Harvard Stem Cell Institute Co-Director Doug Melton, right, and Peng Yi, a post doctoral fellow in his lab, review data from recent experiments in Melton’s lab in Cambridge, Mass. (Harvard University/AP)

Scientists at Harvard say they have found a new gene that produces a hormone that could radically improve treatment for type 2 diabetes.

About 20 million people in the U.S. suffer from type 2 diabetes and control their disease with drugs and insulin injections. But despite treatment, the disease can lead to heart attack, stroke and even blindness.

Professor Doug Melton, co-director of the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University, and his colleagues have discovered a gene that produces insulin making beta cells in mice.

If the injections of the hormone — produced from the gene — can work in humans, patients will no longer need to use medications or insulin injections to control their type 2 diabetes.

Melton is currently working with two pharmaceutical companies, including Johnson & Johnson, to test the hormone in humans.

He also hopes to find ways to use the new hormone in patients with type 1 diabetes — an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack all insulin-producing cells.

Video: Potential diabetes breakthrough explained

Guest:

  • Doug Melton, co-director of the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

September 29 5 Comments

Michigan Coach Faces Criticism For Keeping QB In Play

University of Michigan quarterback Shane Morris was having trouble standing on his own after a major sack. The coach kept him in the game.

September 29 15 Comments

Methodist Pastor Faces Last Church Trial

Reverend Frank Schaefer, who was defrocked for officiating his son's same-sex marriage and later reinstated, awaits one more church trial. He writes about the experience in a new memoir.

September 29 2 Comments

Monarch Butterflies Could Be On Rebound

After precipitous declines in the monarch butterfly population, there are signs the species may be on the rebound.

September 26 4 Comments

Dean Of Boston Sports Journalism Celebrates 42 Years On The Job

Here & Now's Robin Young visits the most-beloved sportscaster you've never heard of: Jonny Miller.