Study compares type 1 diabetes in dogs and humans

Emily Shields, a graduate student in genomics and computational biology, started work on a canine diabetes project during the summer after graduating high school. Her personal project recently contributed important insights for a research study comparing the loss of insulin-producing beta cells in dogs and humans with type 1 diabetes. Like humans, dogs develop diabetes after a significant loss of beta cells. Dogs develop type 1 diabetes later in life, while humans typically develop it as children. The study found that humans have about half the number of beta cells in their islets compared to dogs, which might explain why canine diabetes starts later. Future research will attempt to establish biomarkers that identify animals prone to diabetes, and to find earlier evidence of an autoimmune process at work.

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