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Scientists Create First Live Pictures of How Type 1 Diabetes Develops

By December 13, 2011

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Researchers at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology been able to capture the world's first movies that show how T cells attack the pancreatic cells to create type 1 diabetes.

These images provide groundbreaking information about how type 1 develops and reveals new insights into the how the beta cells (the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas) are destroyed. One finding from the movies is that beta cell destruction occurs very slowly over time. This information might lead to new approaches to stop the destruction process and possibly prevent type 1 altogether.

The movies, (which can be viewed by scrolling to the end of the article) show objects resembling ants (immune T cells) that can be seen hunting for scampering about looking for their prey (insulin-producing beta cells), which the T cells mistakenly attack and destroy, eventually leading to type 1 diabetes.

These innovative studies used a two-photon microscope that enables researchers to see into living tissues at a much greater depth than conventional imaging methods. It uses intense pulses of light to monitor the interactions of cells without destroying them.

What are your thoughts about this study and the groundbreaking movies these researchers were able to create? Post your comments below.

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