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.

October 21 Comment

Jim Gaffigan’s Love Affair With Food

The stand-up comic gives his particular gastronomic take on the world in his new memoir "Food: A Love Story."

October 21 Comment

Jill Abramson Announces Plans For News Startup

The former New York Times executive editor said her goal is to create a news outlet that favors quality over quantity.

October 20 Comment

Alternate Routes: Lasting Impressions From The Road

Our digital and social media producer Rachel Rohr is back from a month-long trip cross-country, talking with young Americans.

October 20 Comment

Mario Batali Goes Farm To Table

The chef and restaurateur discusses the "farm to table" trend and shares recipes with a hearty and rustic twist.