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A Protein That Helps Prevent Diabetes Could Be a Target for Future Treatments

By July 24, 2018No Comments

In Dr. Francis Lynn’s lab, part of the Canucks for Kids Fund Childhood Diabetes Laboratories at BC Children’s Hospital, researchers are going deep inside the inner workings of cells to study how diabetes develops on a molecular level. They’re studying a specific type of insulin-producing cell in the pancreas known as pancreatic beta cells. Diabetes occurs when these cells stop producing insulin or when the body stops recognizing and responding to insulin.

A recent study by Dr. Lynn and his colleagues shows how a particular protein called NPAS4 reduces the likelihood of diabetes developing. This research could one day lead to the development of a new therapy that raises levels of this protein or helps it work more effectively to stop the progression type 2 diabetes, a life-long health condition that is becoming more common in children and young people in Canada.

Thilo Speckmann, a UBC doctoral student supervised by Dr. Lynn, talks to us about how the researchers in the Lynn Lab are working to learn more about beta cells and how and why they’re working to lay the ground work for new therapies and preventative treatments for diabetes.