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Baboon study furthers diabetic research

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Pancreatic cells that pump insulin also produce a destructive substance that can kill the cells that produced it, U.S. scientists studying diabetes said.

The destructive protein creates a “perfect storm” for the development of Type 2 diabetes, Dr. Franco Folli of the University of Texas Health Science Center said.

“You have a condition in which the beta cells die and the alpha cells proliferate. This is the balance that is basically necessary to have the onset of Type 2 diabetes,” Folli said in the journal of the National Academy of Sciences published online Monday.

Folli and his team studied autopsy results from 150 baboons that had died of natural causes at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research. Baboons, like humans, can become obese and develop Type 2 diabetes, The San Antonio Express-News reported Tuesday.

The results suggest the damaging substance from the pancreas appears well before diabetes begins and then rises along with blood sugar as the disease progresses, Folli said.

© 2009 UPI. Displayed by permission. All rights reserved.

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