Long dedicated to battling diabetes, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science are studying all aspects of this complex disease - from its genetic causes and cellular processes, to new diagnostic techniques and prevention and treatment therapies. Institute scientists have developed the first successful vaccine to halt the progression of Type 1 diabetes, as well as a kit for its early diagnosis. Other Institute researchers are probing the complex chain of events in which insulin binds to its cellular receptors to trigger glucose uptake, while yet others hope to combat diabetes-related complications by achieving a better understanding of the cellular interactions that maintain the structural integrity of the body’s blood vessels. Efforts are being made to establish a Center for Research on Diabetes and Related Metabolic Disorders. As in other Weizmann Institute endeavors, the hallmark of the Center will be an interdisciplinary approach, bringing together researchers from molecular biology, biochemistry and other fields to explore the multifaceted challenges of diabetes. Here’s a look at what we are doing.
There are three major types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the body’s own insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells, reducing and ultimately leading to the complete absence of insulin.
Type 2 diabetes, affecting roughly 90 percent of all patients, results from the body’s inability to properly use insulin combined with inadequate insulin production.
Gestational diabetes, affecting roughly 4% of all pregnant women, is believed to be caused by hormones secreted to promote fetal development that impair insulin function in the mother’s body.