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November 14th 2014: World Diabetes Day

12 Nov 2014 | By Inserm (Newsroom) | International day

Diabetes type 1 or type 2 is a chronic disease caused by an insufficient mass of pancreatic beta cells, which produce insulin, or by poor use of this hormone by the body. This results in an elevated level of glucose in the bloodstream (hyperglycaemia), and may lead to serious complications (infarct, impaired vision, blindness, stroke, etc.).

Diabetes affects 347 million people worldwide. In 2012, it was the immediate cause of 1.5 million deaths.

Initiated in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and World Health Organization, World Diabetes Day is aimed at making the general public aware and informed about prevention and management.

Throughout the year, Inserm researchers work hard to try to better understand the mechanisms involved in order to prevent and treat the disease effectively.

The work of Raphael Scharfmann, Inserm Unit 1016, “Cochin Institute,” focuses on the mechanisms (development, growth, stability, destruction) that control the functional mass of human pancreatic beta cells.

“The development of functional human beta cell lines makes it possible to study specific forms of neonatal diabetes, and to understand the maintenance of the differentiated status of a human beta cell throughout life, as well as the mechanisms that bring about its destruction,” explains Raphael Scharfmann

These approaches could allow the characterisation of new drugs enabling these cells to function adequately for life.

 1 Insulin is a hormone that regulates the concentration of sugar in the bloodstream

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Unité Inserm 1016 “Institut Cochin”

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