Narrator: This is Science Today. A unique gene therapy strategy studied at the University of California, San Francisco, may lead to an alternative way to treat diabetes. Molecular biologist Michael German says gland cells normally involved in the digestive system were genetically altered to secrete the protein insulin, which normalizes blood sugar levels.
German: So, by putting the insulin into the glands that are regulated by eating, then what happens is if you're diabetic, you eat a meal, the salivary gland or the pancreas will then secrete the insulin response to that meal and keep your blood sugar from rising after the meal.
Narrator: So a patient's body would become it's own, efficient insulin factory and eliminate the need for constant needle injections.
German: You're really restricted by that insulin dose that you just took. You've gotta eat a meal, you gotta eat a certain amount of calories, a certain amount of carbohydrates. It doesn't give you the freedom to change your mind. It means a lot of monitoring and a lot of injecting of insulin every day to keep your blood sugar even close to normal.
Narrator: Clinical trials are expected within the next few years. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.