Researchers have recently identified 395 genes that are expressed differently in individuals with type 2 diabetes, with one of the genes showing a very strong association with impaired insulin secretion. Now, researchers are investigating if using the genetic CRISPR/Cas9 scissors to correct the gene's activity is possible.
The scientific paper published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI) showed that among the 395 identified genes, 94 were already previously known. This study analyzed insulin-producing cells from 283 individuals with or without type 2 diabetes.
Karl Bacos, associate professor in experimental diabetes research at Lund University and the study's lead, identified a gene showing a robust association with impaired insulin secretion called PAX5 (previously shown to be associated with leukaemia, however, lacks studies showing its role in the pancreatic islets and diabetes). The researchers described that their long-term goal is regulating the activity of PAX5 using the genetic scissors and restoring PAX5 levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes, particularly in a subgroup called SIDD (Severe insulin-deficient diabetes).
Charlotte Ling, the study's co-author, says, "Restoring PAX5 levels
may be particularly be beneficial in future treatments for this subset of
patients as Type 2 diabetes is an expanding global public health problem, and
we urgently need to find new strategies to treat the disease".
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