Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine and colleagues have discovered a new protein that may play a critical role in how the human body regulates blood sugar levels. Reporting in the current issue of , the research team says the protein may represent a new target for treating type 1 diabetes.
“This data may change the current thinking about what causes type 1 diabetes,” said Bryon E. Petersen, Ph.D., professor of regenerative medicine and senior author. “Much more research is needed to understand exactly how the protein functions, but its discovery opens a new door to better understand and hopefully develop new treatments for this currently incurable disease.”
The protein, which the scientists have named Islet Homeostasis Protein (IHoP), has so far been isolated in the pancreas of both humans and rodents. It is located in the pancreatic islets, clusters of cells that secrete the hormones insulin and glucagon that work together to regulate blood sugar.