Milestones in diabetes research

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Claes-Göran Östenson, Professor of Endocrinology, lists milestones in diabetes research 


Insulin and its blood glucose-lowering effect are discovered in Toronto (Canada). Two of the discoverers, Banting and Macleod, are awarded the 1923 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.


Rosalyn Yalow and Samuel Berson devise a method of measuring insulin in serum. This provides a basis for classifying diabetes patients as "insulin-dependent" (with low levels of insulin in serum) and "non-insulin-dependent" (with high levels of insulin), corresponding to what are now known as type 1 and type 2 diabetes respectively. Yalow was awarded the 1977 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.


Erol Cerasi and Rolf Luft at Karolinska Institutet present data suggesting that low insulin release is the most significant disturbance in the development of type 2 diabetes.


Antibodies with the enzyme GAD (glutamic acid decarboxylase) are shown to be an important marker in type 1 diabetes by researchers at Karolinska Institutet, among others. Trials are now under way to prevent type 1 diabetes through "vaccination" with GAD.


Suad Efendic and Mark Gutniak at Karolinska Institutet show, in cooperation with others, that the gastrointestinal hormone GLP-1 has potential antidiabetic effects in both type 2 and type 1 diabetes patients.


Several large genetic studies (Genome Wide Association studies) show that of a dozen genes strongly linked to type 2 diabetes at least ten are related to the insulin-producing beta cells.