In a discovery that has stunned even those behind it, scientists at a
Toronto hospital say they have proof the body's nervous system helps
trigger diabetes, opening the door to a potential near-cure of the
disease that affects millions of Canadians.
Diabetic mice became healthy virtually overnight after researchers
injected a substance to counteract the effect of malfunctioning pain
neurons in the pancreas.
"I couldn't believe it," said Dr. Michael Salter, a pain expert at the
Hospital for Sick Children and one of the scientists. "Mice with
diabetes suddenly didn't have diabetes any more."
The researchers caution they have yet to confirm their findings in
people, but say they expect results from human studies within a year or
so. Any treatment that may emerge to help at least some patients would
likely be years away from hitting the market.But the excitement of the
team from Sick Kids, whose work is being published today in the journal
Cell, is almost palpable.