Newswise — How can we Beat #Diabetes on #WorldHealthDay? @sbpdiscovery researcher gives it a shot. @WHO

April 7th is World Health Day, this year’s goal: Beat Diabetes. 1.25 million American adults and children have type 1 diabetes.Researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys (SBP) Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla CA, are working hard in the lab to beat diabetes…by using zebrafish.

What do tiny, one-inch long fish have to do with diabetes? According to Dr. Duc Dong at SBP, “Zebrafish have all the organs we have: the liver, the pancreas-which is where the beta cells develop. Beta cells produce insulin lost by type 1 diabetics. We are trying something really different, which is to reprogram cells in the body to become replacement beta cells.”“Research using zebrafish is faster and we can do more genetics and manipulate DNA,” Dr. Dong says. “We’ve already accessed replacement beta cells from unexpected sources and our preliminary date shows what we are trying to do has a lot of potential in terms of ultimately leading to a cure for diabetes, to take away the need for the daily insulin injections.”According to Dr. Dong, “Many make insulin-producing cells from stem cells, encapsulate them and then transplant them. We are trying to convert other cells in the body to stem cells which will allow us to avoid the transplant and use of cells that may become too dangerous to put back in the body.”Dr. Duc Dong, Assistant Professor in the Human Genetics Program at SBP is available for interviews.

Please contact:Kristen CusatoCommunications ManagerSanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP)10901 North Torrey Pines RoadLa Jolla, California 92037Office (858) 795-5126Cell (760) 420-7063[email protected]