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Nepali Student Part of Discovery that May Improve Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes

Shristi Shrestha, a Ph.D. student at The University of Alabama (UAH) in Huntsville, recently served as the first co-author of a paper, published in the journal “Cell Reports.” Her study result points to a new discovery in the type 1 diabetes and it might aid in improving the treatment of the disease, reports UAH News.

Shristi Shrestha. Image Courtesy: Michael Mercier | UAH

The Backstory:

Shrestha initially had plans to focus on biomolecular aspects of medicinal plants however as she looked for other opportunities in biomolecular research she got to work as a graduate research assistant at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.

Why it matters:

  • As explained by Shrestha, islets are clusters of cell found in the pancreatic tissue. They are mainly composed of two types of cells, β cells that produce insulin hormone and α cells that produce glucagon hormone.
  • Usually, these hormones are released in a balanced way such that the glucose levels remain in balance as required by the body.
  • However, in case of patients with Type 1 diabetes, the immune system of the body attacks the β cells such that insulin production is hampered. It was previously believed that all β cells were lost in those patients. However, recent studies had shown that some of those cells survived, and Shrestha’s study was to find out whether those cells were normal or not.
  • The results of the study were able to prove that the β cells still had insulin-producing capabilities and that α cells were also compromised in those patients with Type 1 diabetes.

Key Takeaways:

  • Shrestha’s research was able to shed new light on the subject of Type 1 diabetes.
  • However, the research only raises even more questions regarding the disease and even more, progressive research is required to understand the cause of Type 1 diabetes.

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