Future therapy for diabetes: Save the beta-cell!
The Islet Biology Laboratory within the Centre for Biomolecular Interactions Bremen, University of Bremen is a purpose built islet research center, especially for diabetes research and includes research facilities for fundamental molecular and cellular biology and metabolism and for translational, human disease relevant research.
Concurrent with obesity, the global incidence of diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate, currently more than 420 Million people have diabetes. Our Lab seeks for a better mechanistic understanding of how the disease develops and for successful strategies to stop this epidemic.
Pancreatic β-cell death is the fundamental cause of type 1 diabetes (T1D) and a contributing factor to the reduced β-cell mass in type 2 diabetes (T2D). In both cases the mechanisms of beta-cell death are complex and as yet not fully defined. Modulation of apoptosis and identification of its stimuli is our approach towards the treatment of this metabolic disorder. Novel agents that can selectively block beta-cell apoptosis are urgently needed, since current therapies are directed towards alleviating only the symptoms and not the cause of the disease.
We work interdisciplinary and with multiple cellular in vitro and in vivo experimental models up to human autopsy and biopsy tissue. The identification of environmental factors, which lead to the disease is the 1st step towards its intervention. We look at viral and inflammatory pathways and the beta-cells’ response to stress, hyperactivation and hypernutrition.
The beta-cell has a very limited capacity to compensate for such environmental stress factors. With the identification of disturbances in the Hippo developmental pathway, we hope to induce beta-cell restoration and regeneration and thus, reversal of the disease in future.