News from Faustman Lab: Study finds some insulin production in long-term type 1 diabetes

BOSTON – Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research has found that insulin production may persist for decades after the onset of type 1 diabetes. Beta cell functioning also appears to be preserved in some patients years after apparent loss of pancreatic function. The study results were published today in the March issue of Diabetes Care.

"Traditionally, it was thought that beta cell function completely ceased in patients with advanced type 1 diabetes. However, data from this study and others suggest that the pancreas continues to function at some level even decades after the onset of type 1 diabetes," says Denise Faustman, MD, PhD, director of the MGH Immunobiology Laboratory, who led the study.


THANKS so much for this post, Emily. This is why I have been donating blood for the past 3 years to The Faustman Lab.. I think Dr. Faustmann's research is plausible AND possible. I know there will be effective treatments for many, if not a total cure, theough her research. This really keeps hope Alive!!!

God Bless.

I found this article posted online (here, and not as a word document: ) earlier today, and find it encouraging. It provides some explanation to Dr. Faustman's earlier "mysterious" discovery that beta-cells regenerated under her BCG treatment. I suspect that they did not regenerate, but rather they continue to divide and multiply (is that a contradiction?) in all people, D or non-D, and halting the autoimmune process allows the cells to build-up to normal functioning levels.

Hopefully after nearly four decades of attack my pancreas hasn't went kaput. At this point I'd do any therapy to get off insulin. The articles above are really not anything new. The Faustman lab already confirmed these findings last June.

Thanks for posting this, Emily! Very interesting!


Richard157 mentioned that they'd noticed this in the 50-year medalist survey as well. It would be nice if the researchers would share their data about stuff like this. Perhaps it would help them make more progress?

This sounds like such great news. Hopefully a cure for T1 is on its way. It would be wonderful if they could all work together?

Bernard Zinman, MD, one of the lead DCCT researchers, found that all of the adult-onset Type 1s in the study had some remnant beta cell function.


Yes, I thought I'd read that somewhere quite awhile ago, just didn't know who said it.

I've been meaning to send my 2012 donation out to them. Heck if everyone on this forum sent Dr F even a measly $10 that would add up to some decent cash.

Interesting. I thought her research had already shown this, but perhaps it had been only hypothesis. Thanks for posting!

Today the Diabetes Research Institute is reporting that Professor Roep from the Netherlands is stating something similar. He is also talking about a vaccine for the antibodies. I'm not good at posting links but the article is called Dutch Professor: Type 1 Diabetes can be Cured/Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

Maybe that's why some diabetics need a lot more insulin than others. It may also account for greater needs at time than at other times.

Great News for the world fantastic thank you.

I find it a bit strange that this is new. Joslin has an ongoing study for the long time candidates that had no to just mild complications - like Richard. One year ago they published that they have found residual beta cells in these candidates. The thesis is that this residual production is lowering the spikes and that other components of natural insulin like amylin might have protective side effects. It is an ongoing efford to find out why some people are free of complications despite of their quality of control. Based on that the finding of Faustman is reassuring that the success with mice can be repeated with humans.

What a dream but I think that my type 1 is too old ( since 1967). thank you Emily to give this new.

Brigitte, NO it is not. I've had type 1 since 1955 and am a part of the Joslin study. Never, ever give up. Additionally, I am now having issues with my pancreatic enzymes, but do not know if this is a common occurrence, or just me. For all others following this thread, the last I heard, they had examined 17 pancreases and found that ALL had insulin producing cells present, just not in sufficient quantity to be of any use. That is, except to allow us to be relatively free from many complications. This does vary amongst us, some with none, and many of us with some. We have a "protection factor" per Dr. King. He stated lst June when we all met at the Josiln Clinic that we were special because of this. There are 700+ involved right now, but they are always looking for more. This protection factor, however, does not extend to the heart. we suffer heart issues just like the general population, but our eyes, kidneys, nerves seem to have some protection. I've had macro vascular problems (PVD), but my eyes and kidneys are still pretty good (some proteinuria, but after 57 years...) Most al in the study heard the same story when we were diagnosed. There will be a cure in a few years. we are still waiting, but research is moving ahead fast, much faster now. Just don't give up Brigitte....

Yank, I agree. In my mind, if you have one working beta cell, that's enough. And I'm convinced (based on nothing more than a high-school honors biology class) that cells continue to divide and grow throughout our entire lives. It's how we grow from an embryo to a person. It's how blood replenishes itself. (It's even how cancer grows!). Seriously, do you think the beta cells in my 94-year-old grandmother (without diabetes) are the same ones she had when she was born? Doubtful. Old ones die and new ones replenish the supply.

So I believe that if the autoimmune attack can be stopped, the beta cells will replenish and the diabetes will be gone.

Wow! Thanks for this post Yank. Congratulations for living well with T1 for so many years! Cheers!