March 30, 2020
Approximately one in four Canadians have a diagnosis of diabetes, live with undiagnosed diabetes, or have prediabetes. This condition is a complex one that has a number of symptoms and side effects, including an increased risk of breaking bones and slower bone repair. A team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania are currently working on a treatment that has the potential to help the bones of those living with diabetes to heal faster.
They have developed an elegant solution to the problem, a low cost, easy to take protein medication that helps to promote bone regeneration – lettuce. The team introduced human insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) protein into lettuces, this protein is essential for both the development and regeneration of muscle and bone. Following the introduction of this protein the lettuce responds by expressing the gene in its cells and producing IGF-1 in the leaves, which can then be freeze-dried, powdered and consumed.
In diabetic mice that received this treatment the researchers observed an increase in IGF-1 levels, as well as an increase in bone healing. The researchers hope this treatment can be used in humans, as the current IGF-1 treatment requires patients to receive daily injections of a less efficient form of IGF-1. If clinical trials are successful, this treatment could also be used for a number of other bone related ailments including osteoporosis.
Source: Medical News Today
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