Engineered Probiotic Could Treat Diabetes

Treating diabetes may be possible with a scientifically engineered strain of probiotic – the type of "good" bacteria that helps promote healthy digestion and immunity.

Researchers from Cornell University found they could cause a specific strain of lactobacillus to secrete a Glucagen-like peptide. The supplement was submitted orally to rats with diabetes and appeared to lower their blood glucose levels.

After taking the probiotic, upper intestinal cells in the rats were converted into cells that acted like pancreatic beta cells – which are responsible for monitoring blood glucose levels and secreting insulin.

Researchers look towards possible human use for probiotic

The probiotic allowed diabetic rats to have blood glucose levels similar to normal rats following meals, but the treatment didn't appear to change blood sugar levels in healthy rats.

"If the rat is managing its glucose, it doesn't need more insulin," said senior study author John March, professor of Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University.

Researchers are currently working to produce a version of the probiotic for human use which might come in the form of a daily pill for diabetes management.

Source: Science Daily

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