Dogs Cured of Type 1 Diabetes

Beagles no longer showed diabetes symptoms following a single course of gene therapy.

By | February 15, 2013

WIKIMEDIA, GARRETT 222Gene therapy has successfully banished type 1 diabetes in dogs, the first time this treatment has worked to treat the disease in a large animal, according to a study published online in the journal Diabetes earlier this month (February 1).

For the study, Spanish researchers induced diabetes in beagles between 6 months and 1 year old. They then injected the dogs’ skeletal muscles with viruses carrying genes for insulin and glucokinase, an enzyme involved in processing glucose. Following the treatment, the researcher confirmed that the genes had been incorporated into the DNA of the dogs, which were able to regulate their own blood sugar levels without medical help. And when they exercised, they no longer had episodes of hypoglycemia.

Dogs that were injected with viruses carrying only the gene for insulin or only the gene for glucokinase continued to have symptoms of diabetes, indicating that the genes acted in concert.

Following more tests in dogs, the researchers hope to try out the treatment in humans. But sources warned New Scientist that the treatment might not work the same way in humans that it did in canines, as the dogs’ diabetes was induced by chemically destroying pancreas cells that produce insulin. In naturally occurring type 1 diabetes, on the other hand, the immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells.

Still, “this work is an interesting new avenue which may give us a completely new type of treatment,” Matthew Hobbs, head of research at Diabetes UK, told New Scientist

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Avatar of: Carrie Elsass

Carrie Elsass

Posts: 4

February 15, 2013

I'd like to know how Type 1 diabetes was induced. Thanks in advance.

Avatar of: BobD


Posts: 20

February 15, 2013

I have not read this paper, but diabetes can be chemically induced by administration of alloxan, a toxic glucose analog that destroys beta cells in the pancreas.

Avatar of: Angel74


Posts: 1

February 17, 2013

I want to know how to become a human tester on this work that has been done for the dogs. If anyone could help me I would do the experiment tomorrow. I am a sever diabetic and would give anytime I could to do clinical trials for human experences. PLEASE HELP!
Avatar of: Aksipes


Posts: 1

February 17, 2013

I would like to volunteer for the human research please! I have had Type 1 Diabetes since I was 11 when I was in an accident, in which I suffered head trauma, which they think damaged my pituitary gland, thus inducing the distruction of my beta cells. There is no history of Type 1 Diabetes in my family. It's been almost 20 years since I was diagnosed, and I gotta say...I'm kinda over it.

Avatar of: Anne Lewis

Anne Lewis

Posts: 1

February 18, 2013

I feel sorry for the dogs.  Did you eventually cure the controls - just to be fair?  Do they just throw these dogs out when they are throught?  

Avatar of: ryanK


Posts: 1

March 29, 2013

After they are done wit the dogs at about 1.5 years old, they give them up for adoption. I know this because we adopted one that had been a test dog, although they dont say where they come from.

Avatar of: Phil


Posts: 1

June 7, 2013

Ive had T1 for 25+ yrs. I would volunteer as well. I have no complications other than disease.

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