Faster Method for Diabetes Research Development Found

Researchers at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana have found a way to potentially speed up discoveries in newer, more effective medications for diabetes. The method simplifies the pancreatic in vitro testing done to see how drugs affect insulin secretion.

The current method is time-consuming and very expensive. The new method from Pennington could cut costs significantly and give results almost immediately. All by using calcium as a marker.

Calcium signals pancreatic beta cells to secrete insulin into the blood.

"When a person drinks a Coke, or eats a donut, or has some kind of food with sugar in it," assistant professor Dr. Jason Collier of Pennington explains, "once it hits the blood, there's a specific cell type that makes and secretes insulin. Glucose triggers that insulin secretion using the metabolic process that's coupled with calcium."

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Collier and his team studied the reaction that pancreatic beta cells have when subjected to glucose. The researchers realized that they could target calcium as it "illuminates" inside the pancreatic cells as insulin is released.

"If you see the fireworks, you see the insulin secretion,” said Collier. “It's a way to indicate cellular function.”

This could become a very effective way to test whether potential drugs are effective or not. They call it the Cell Glow technique and it can be used to test drugs one after another in succession or combination. The process is now being fine-tuned for potential use by scientists.

Source: WAFB.com

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