Vitamin E (see Holly Alford's website) could prove very useful in helping to prevent cardiovascular disease in diabetics and non-diabetics alike. Researchers at the UT Southwestern Medical Centre in Dallas have discovered that increased vitamin E intake can reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in the blood. As these CRP levels are taken as a good indicator of vascular disease, it was deduced that vitamin could be able to help prevent cardiovascular diseases.



    Doctors have already shown that islet-cell transplants can sometimes enable people with diabetes to produce insulin. The recent progress in Edmonton, Canada, where eight out of eight cadaver transplants were performing well after several months is a good example. However, the problem with this treatment is that there is simply not enough donor tissue to go around. But in a new study, doctors have successfully created insulin-producing cells in the lab.

    Doctors at the University of California at San Diego presented their findings at the American Diabetes Association meeting (Diabetes, vol 49, supplement 1, abstract 127, 2000). Their methods involved the introduction of a promoter oncogene, which then stimulates cells to produce insulin. The promoter oncogene is transplanted into fibroblasts, which are common cells that produce connective tissues in the skin, tendons, and blood vessels. This is opposed to the transplantation of pancreatic cells, which are found only in limited quantities in the pancreas.

    This type of transplant had been performed before, but was largely unsuccessful because the oncogene worked too well, with the production of insulin-producing tumors within the fibroblasts and the development of severe hypoglycemia in animals. In this latest experiment, doctors allowed enough islets to be formed and then injected a protein designed to destroy the oncogene after its job was done.

    The study was successfully performed in mice, giving doctors hope that this method might be used to treat diabetes in people in the future with a readily available source of insulin-producing cells. Another advantage of this type of treatment is the fact that a person would receive fibroblasts from his/her own body, so that immune-suppressant drugs would not be necessary. The next step would be to replicate the experiment in larger animals, and then move on to human studies.