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Could a bacteria-killing protein lead to a new treatment for diabetes?

Why would a bacteria-killing protein be present in an area of the body that is not normally exposed to bacteria, like the pancreas? Researchers at The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa puzzled over this question for some time, until they eventually discovered that the protein in question was doing something entirely unexpected – it was actually helping the pancreas regenerate and produce insulin. This ground-breaking discovery, recently published in the journal Diabetes., could lead to new treatments for this devastating disease.

Insulin-Producing Cells Express a Bacteria-Killing Protein
Insulin appears green while Cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (CAMP) appears red and the DNA of all cells appears blue.Yellow shows an overlap of green and red.
Credit: Dr. Fraser Scott, The Ottawa Hospital