• Carolyn Robertson (1)
  • John Golenski (2)
  • Scott King (18)

Have a question about diabetes research, especially about islet transplantation? Looking for sound advice about managing type 1 diabetes? Interested in the work of our foundation? Ask here, and an expert from the Hanuman team will respond.


  • Living With Diabetes (1)
  • Research (18)
  • Foundation (2)


Hi Experts! I have what is probably a very basic question, so I thank you for your patience! In animal studies, as I understand it, the animals are "made diabetic" via a pancreatectomy. How reflective is this of the immune-mediated disease in humans? Or are there animal studies which use those animals whose diabetes is initiated via the immune system? As I said, I am sure this is a very basic question so please do not hesitate to simply post a link to where I can find the answer. Many thanks, and keep up the amazing work. You give me hope that I will one day be able to tell my son he will never have to inject himself again. Oh what a day that would be... —Amy H.
From Islet Sheet Medical founder Scott King:

This is an excellent question, Amy, and reflects a serious problem in autoimmune diabetes research.

We need good animal models for diabetes. A large animal such as a dog is best for metabolic studies. Pancreatectomy is excellent in making these animals diabetic. And their immune systems are complete (meaning they make good antibodies). In contrast, rodents cannot be made diabetic with pancreatectomy so we must rely on islet-toxic drugs. These drugs are often not very effective.

So, which animals develop autoimmune diabetes similar to human autoimmune diabetes?  The answer is "none."  Autoimmune attack on islets seems unique to human beings. The NOD (Non-Obese Diabetic) mouse is often described as type 1 diabetic. But in fact it's a poor model.

The sad reality is there is no good model for human autoimmune diabetes. All models are compromises. Each is useful for certain questions. Fortunately for Islet Sheet research, we need not worry about autoimmune response. The allograft or xenograft responses are much more vigorous. If we prevent those responses, we will certainly prevent the weaker autoimmune response.

Scientists working to suppress autoimmunity in diabetes are not so lucky. After demonstrating success in the NOD mouse they move next into humans.



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