Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Insulin Grown In Plants Relieves Diabetes In Mice: Holds Promise For Humans

Date:
July 31, 2007
Source:
University of Central Florida
Summary:
Scientists genetically engineered tobacco plants with the insulin gene and then administered freeze-dried plant cells to five-week-old diabetic mice as a powder for eight weeks. By the end of the study, the diabetic mice had normal blood and urine sugar levels, and their cells were producing normal levels of insulin.

UCF professor Henry Daniell hopes that capsules of insulin produced in genetically modified lettuce could someday bring relief to people who suffer from Type 1 diabetics.
Credit: Jerry Klein

Capsules of insulin produced in genetically modified lettuce could hold the key to restoring the body's ability to produce insulin and help millions of Americans who suffer from insulin-dependent diabetes, according to University of Central Florida biomedical researchers.

Professor Henry Daniell's research team genetically engineered tobacco plants with the insulin gene and then administered freeze-dried plant cells to five-week-old diabetic mice as a powder for eight weeks. By the end of the study, the diabetic mice had normal blood and urine sugar levels, and their cells were producing normal levels of insulin.

Those results and prior research indicate that insulin capsules could someday be used to prevent diabetes before symptoms appear and treat the disease in its later stages, Daniell said. He has since proposed using lettuce instead of tobacco to produce the insulin because that crop can be produced cheaply and avoids the negative stigma associated with tobacco.

Insulin-dependent, or Type 1, diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys insulin and insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy.

Insulin typically is given through shots and not pills so the hormone can go straight into the bloodstream. In Daniell's method, plant cell walls made of cellulose initially prevent insulin from degrading. When the plant cells containing insulin reach the intestine, bacteria living there begin to slowly break down the cell walls and gradually release insulin into the bloodstream.

"Currently, the only relief for diabetes is a momentary relief," Daniell said. "Diabetics still have to monitor their blood and urine sugar levels. They have to inject themselves with insulin several times a day. Having a permanent solution for this, I'm sure, would be pretty exciting."

Though produced in lettuce, the insulin would be delivered to human patients as a powder in capsules because the dosage must be controlled carefully.

If human trials are successful, the impact of Daniell's research could affect millions of diabetics worldwide and dramatically reduce the costs of fighting a disease that can lead to heart and kidney diseases and blindness.

About 20.8 million children and adults in the United States, or about 7 percent of the population, have Type 1 or 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

The number of Americans with diabetes is projected to double by 2025, according to a study released last month by the National Changing Diabetes Program during a congressional briefing. That study by Mathematica Policy Research Inc. also reported that one of every eight federal health care dollars -- $79.7 billion out of $645 billion -- is spent on treating people with diabetes.

"Diabetes is a big health and financial burden in the United States and in the rest of the world," Daniell said. "This study would facilitate a dramatic change because so far there is no medicine that will cure insulin-dependent diabetes."

Daniell's method of growing insulin in plants is similar to what he used for an earlier study to produce anthrax vaccine in tobacco. In the earlier study, which also involved mice, Daniell showed and the National Institutes of Health confirmed that enough safe anthrax vaccine to inoculate everyone in the United States could be grown inexpensively in only one acre of tobacco plants.

The National Institutes of Health provided $2 million to fund the UCF study. The findings are reported in the July issue of Plant Biotechnology Journal.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Central Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Central Florida. "Insulin Grown In Plants Relieves Diabetes In Mice: Holds Promise For Humans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070730111638.htm>.
University of Central Florida. (2007, July 31). Insulin Grown In Plants Relieves Diabetes In Mice: Holds Promise For Humans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070730111638.htm
University of Central Florida. "Insulin Grown In Plants Relieves Diabetes In Mice: Holds Promise For Humans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070730111638.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Drug Could Reduce Cardiovascular Deaths

New Drug Could Reduce Cardiovascular Deaths

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) The new drug from Novartis could reduce cardiovascular deaths by 20 percent compared to other similar drugs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins