Islet Projects


The ‘dimmer switch’ breakthrough

Dr Patrick MacDonald and his team at the Alberta Diabetes Institute IsletCore have made a very important breakthrough in type 2 diabetes. They have identified a new pathway that controls insulin production from pancreatic islet cells.

This pathway acts as the ‘dimmer switch’ to determine how much insulin comes out once these cells are ‘turned on’.
Scientists have been trying to solve the mystery of the ‘dimmer switch’ for over 20 years. They have found that this dimmer switch is broken in the cells of type 2 diabetics but can be fixed so that diabetic cells work the same as healthy cells.

The ability to restore and fix the dimmer switch in islet cells has been proven on a molecular level but the there will be a challenge to translate these findings into clinical use. The Alberta Diabetes Foundation has a 7 year, $100,000 commitment with Dr MacDonald to support his research in this field of study and Dr MacDonald believes the findings show a important new way forward.
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