Gene therapy cures diabetes in dogs

London, Feb. 13 (ANI): Five beagles, who were suffering from diabetes, were no longer in need of insulin injections after they were given two extra genes.

Fatima Bosch, who treated the dogs at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain, said that a number of attempts had earlier been made to treat the disease with gene therapy but this study is the first to show a long-term cure in a large animal, New Scientist reported.

To sense and regulate how much glucose is being circulated in the blood, the two genes have to work together in tandem.

People, who suffer from type 1 diabetes, lose this ability as their immune system kills the pancreatic cells that produce insulin.

The two genes, which were delivered into dogs' legs muscles by a harmless virus, appeared to compensate for the loss of these insulin producing pancreatic cells.

One gene created insulin while the other produced an enzyme that dictated how much glucose should be absorbed into muscles.

Dogs that received only one of the two genes remained diabetic, suggesting that both the genes are needed for the treatment to work. (ANI)

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