Gene Therapy at TTU Linking Help for Diabetes and Heart Disease

Gene Therapy at TTU Linking Help for Diabetes and Heart Disease

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A research team at Texas Tech is working on a new theory that could ultimately change the way diabetes is treated and could in the process pave the way for better treatment of heart disease as well.

Leading the research team is Dr. Jannette Dufour, who gives all the start up credit to a Ted Nash Foundation grant, the first for Texas Tech in more than 10 years. That Is providing the funds for this unique study. She says in her lab, they are using gene therapy to engineer certain cells to make insulin to treat blood glucose levels.

And since there is a strong connection between diabetes and heart disease, Dr. Dufour says they're hoping these genetically engineered cells could also treat heart disease. She says, "That's our goal. So we would like to take our cells which have these unique properties that can survive transplantation. If they deliver insulin, then insulin could treat diabetes and then in the combination we think can treat complications like heart disease."

This is a 2 year study that brings new hope to the estimated 30 million people with diabetes... and even more with heart disease.

Studies continue here at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center in animal models.

Dr. Dufour says the hope is that someday, patients with a diagnosis of diabetes would be able to turn to gene therapy for relief... instead of insulin shots.

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