Probiotic helps treat diabetes

30 January 2015

A new study has found that a probiotic could help develop a pill to treat diabetes. Researchers at Cornell University, New York, engineered a strain of lactobacillus, a human probiotic commonly found in the gut.

Published in the journal Diabetes, the study used the engineered lactobacillus to secrete a Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). This was then administered orally to diabetic rats for 90 days and the team found that those receiving the engineered probiotic had up to 30 per cent lower high blood glucose.

According to John March, professor of biological and environmental engineering at Cornell University and the paper's senior author, the study is a proof of principle and further research is needed to test higher doses.

The researchers found that upper intestinal epithelial cells in diabetic rats were transformed into cells that act similar to pancreatic beta cells, which monitor blood glucose levels and secrete insulin when glucose needs balancing.

Although the pill replaces the insulin capacity in diabetic rats, the team found there was no change in blood glucose levels when administered to healthy rats.

Posted by ​Phillip Briggs 

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