Ben-Gurion University established the Clinical Islet Laboratory for the Study of Immunology, Transplantation, Inflammation and Diabetes. It is in this highly specialized laboratory, the only one of its kind in Israel, where leading researchers are breaking through this diverse disease and coming closer to finding a cure.
Headed by Dr. Eli Lewis, BGU researchers are working on a new line of drugs based on the alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) protein that reduces inflammation during islet transplantation. AAT allows the transplantation of donor islet cells in a diabetic’s liver to respond in the long term, eventually eliminating the need for weekly injections and in effect “curing” diabetes.
Additionally, they have proven that increasing AAT alone without islet transplantation may cure diabetes. Human clinical trials have recently been completed showing promising results for newly diagnosed diabetic patients.
The first patient to receive AAT therapy in BGU’s clinical study was a young Jewish boy from San Diego in 2008. He was given eight injections, once a week.
Prior to the treatment the boy was put on a diabetic diet and was taking more than 10 mm of insulin per meal. To this day his glucose is controlled, he takes no insulin and he leads a happy fulfilling life.
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