Menu

Caffeine-Triggered Cells Help Control Blood Sugar in Diabetic Mice

Scientists engineered human cells to produce a molecule that stimulates insulin secretion in the presence of caffeine.

Jun 20, 2018
Diana Kwon

PIXABAY, ALEXAS_FOTOS

Scientists have engineered human cells that boost the production of insulin in response to caffeine. These modified cells could one day help treat patients with type 2 diabetes, researchers suggested in their report, published yesterday (June 19) in Nature Communications.

“You could completely integrate this into your lifestyle,” study coauthor Martin Fussenegger, a biotechnologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, tells The Guardian. “You have a tea or coffee in the morning, another after lunch, and another at dinner, depending on how much drug you need to get your glucose back down.”

Fussenegger and his colleagues engineered human embryonic kidney cells that produce a synthetic version of human glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), a molecule that prompts the release of insulin, in the presence of caffeine.

Then, the team injected diabetic mice with an implant containing hundreds of the engineered cells. This revealed that the animals’ blood-sugar levels could be controlled by simply adding a caffeinated beverage, such as coffee, cola, or Red Bull, to their meals. Noncaffeinated beverages, such as herbal tea and chocolate milkshakes, had no effect.

Such implants are unlikely to be accidently triggered by other foods or beverages, Fussenegger tells New Scientist. “[V]ery small trace amounts of caffeine will not trigger the system,” he says.

Although the technique is still in the early stages of development, if it proves to be safe and effective in humans, it could one day replace insulin injections, Fussenegger tells The Guardian. “You could have your normal life back,” he says. “The implant could last for six months to a year before it would need to be replaced.”

February 2019

Big Storms Brewing

Can forests weather more major hurricanes?

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) today showcases new automation features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer during the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening 2019 International Conference and Exhibition (SLAS) in Washington, D.C., February 2–6. These capabilities enable the ZE5 to be used for high-throughput flow cytometry in biomarker discovery and phenotypic screening.
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Researchers to benefit from an innovative software-connected pipetting system, bringing improved reproducibility and traceability of experiments to life-science laboratories.
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) will showcase advanced 3D cell culture technologies and workflow solutions for spheroids, organoids, tissue models, and applications including ADME/toxicology at the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) conference, Feb. 2-6 in Washington, D.C.
Corning Introduces New 1536-well Spheroid Microplate
Corning Introduces New 1536-well Spheroid Microplate
High-throughput spheroid microplate benefits cancer research, drug screening