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Joslin discovers signs of residual islet cell function in people with long-term type 1 diabetes

Scientists at Joslin Diabetes Center have discovered that a surprisingly high percentage of people with type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent) who have had the disease for 50 years or longer (The Joslin Medalists) may still have residual functioning, insulin-producing islet cells and/or islet cell antibodies. The findings will be presented June 12 at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 66th Annual Scientific Sessions in Washington, D.C.

"It is surprising that some Medalists still have c-peptide secretion, a sign of insulin production, and some are positive for antibodies to the islets, another sign that some islet function or mass still is present. The significance of these findings is that even after such a prolonged period of diabetes, some patients still have residual islet function," said George L. King, M.D., the study's lead author. Dr. King is Joslin's Research Director, Head of the Section on Vascular Cell Biology, head of Joslin's 50-Year Medalist Study and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

In addition, the researchers found 48 percent of the total participants reported no or very little microvascular complications, such as kidney and eye problems, which demonstrates that long duration of diabetes does not always progress to complications. There also was no significant difference in age, duration, age of onset or long-term glucose control measured by A1C (glycated hemoglobin) levels between those with or without complications.

This talk is one of nearly 80 presentations to be delivered by Joslin scientists at the ADA's Scientific Sessions, Friday, June 9, through Tuesday, June 13. Some 15,000 scientists, physicians and health professionals will attend the conference, to be held at the Washington Convention Center. The talk, "Immune Tolerance and Other Treatment Approaches for Type 1 Diabetes," is scheduled for June 12 at an 8-10 a.m. EST session on Immunology/Transplantation. [Abstract Number 278-OR: "Positivity o
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Source:Joslin Diabetes Center


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