The research team and the cured dogs  (Source: Pierre Caufap)
Only one session of injections cured the dogs for over four years

Researchers from Barcelona have developed a new gene therapy that significantly improved the blood glucose levels of dogs with type 1 diabetes -- and could potentially be a cure.

The team was made up of researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and was led by Fàtima Bosch.

The new gene therapy consists of a single session of multiple injections. These injections presented adeno-associated vectors (AAV) that both expressed the insulin gene, and also glucokinase (an enzyme that regulates an uptake of glucose from the blood). When both genes were expressed, the excess of blood sugar in type 1 diabetic dogs was controlled over a long-term period.

The adeno-associated vectors were derived from non-pathogenic viruses, and simply transferred the two genes to the muscle of the dogs once injected.

This gene therapy was tested on dogs, who received a single administration of the gene therapy. Results showed that the dogs' blood glucose levels were controlled all the time, whether they were eating or fasting. The dogs didn't have any episodes of hypoglycemia, either, which is when blood glucose levels drop too low.

The dogs in the study maintained normal blood glucose levels for more than four years after the injections without requiring any more sessions, and still show no signs of the disease returning. They didn't experience any secondary complications associated with type 1 diabetes in that time period, either.

Since AAV vectors have been previously introduced into skeletal muscle treatments, getting this gene therapy into a clinical setting shouldn't be too difficult. Once this has been accomplished for type 1 diabetic companion animals, it should move on to humans.

Source: Science Daily

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