No More Needles! Using Microbiome and Synthetic Biology Advances to Better Treat Type 1 Diabetes
Learn about exciting advances made by JCVI researchers Yo Suzuki and John Glass who are on a quest to better understand and treat Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). Currently T1D is managed by injecting insulin to manage blood glucose levels. Drs. Suzuki and Glass want to change that by creating a synthetic version of beta cells (the cells that produce and release insulin). Dr. Suzuki was awarded funding from the Diabetes Research Connection to explore converting a naturally residing deep skin bacterium into a surrogate beta cell. This pilot project was successful. The results suggested that the skin bacterial cells could be engineered to respond to blood glucose levels and produce insulin. The team is expanding on this research to see if the synthetic beta cells function robustly in additional tests and thus could be developed as a future alternative to injected insulin.