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Type 1 diabetes

Astonished researchers report capsaicin injections cure Type 1 diabetes in mice

Friday, December 22, 2006 by: Jessica Fraser
Tags: Type 1 diabetes, capsaicin, diabetes treatment

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(NewsTarget) A new Canadian animal study published in Friday's issue of the journal Cell found that mice injected with capsaicin -- the chemical that makes chili peppers hot -- were rapidly cured of Type 1 diabetes.

Researchers from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto believe that Type 1 diabetes -- the most serious form of the disease that usually appears in childhood -- is caused by malfunctioning pain nerves that surround cells in the pancreas.

In patients suffering from Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas fails to produce sufficient levels of insulin, causing inflammation and death of insulin-producing islet cells in the pancreas. Experts have long believed that the condition was caused by the body's immune system turning against itself, but the Toronto researchers -- immunologist Dr. Hans Michael Dosch and pain expert Dr. Michael Salter -- theorized faulty pancreatic pain neurons could be to blame.

Dosch had observed in previous research that islet cells in diabetics were surrounded by an "enormous" number of pain nerves that signaled the brain that the pancreatic tissue was damaged.

To test their theory, Dosch and Salter injected capsaicin into mice that had Type 1 diabetes, to kill the animals' pancreatic pain nerves. The researchers said they were stunned to discover that the injected mice's islet cells began producing insulin normally almost immediately.

”I couldn't believe it," Salter said. "Mice with diabetes suddenly didn't have diabetes anymore."

Dosch and Salter discovered on further research that the pancreatic nerve cells were a vital part of the functioning of islet cells, by secreting neuropeptides that tell the islets to release insulin. The nerves weren't secreting enough neuropeptides, causing a "vicious cycle" of stress on the islets.

The researchers then injected the neuropeptide -- dubbed "substance P" -- into the pancreases of the diabetic mice. The mice's islet inflammation rapidly cleared up, and the animals' diabetes disappeared. According to Dosch and Salter, some mice have remained "cured" for up to four months with a single injection.

The researchers also found that their capsaicin/"substance P" treatments helped curb the insulin resistance that causes Type 2 diabetes.

According to consumer health advocate Mike Adams, author of "How to Halt Diabetes in 25 Days," Dosch and Salter's study proves that Type 1 diabetes -- like Type 2 diabetes -- is "a disease of cellular miscommunication.

"It also shows that diabetes can, indeed, be cured, and that's a fact that the conventional medical community simply does not want to acknowledge," Adams said. "Treating diabetes is far too lucrative. Embracing a cure would devastate the drug companies and health care businesses that depend on a diabetes epidemic."

Dosch and Salter expect to complete human trials of the treatment in the next year.


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