The Lone Star State is in the forefront of research into this dread disease, and a Dallas-based researcher "says he's pulled off a medical first: successfully treating mice and rats dying of insulin-dependent diabetes without using insulin."
Dr Roger Unger thinks this has great potential, but actual human testing (and treatment) is a few years away. The key to the process is fat cells; actually, a "protein hormone that plays a key role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure" called leptin.
Using Leptin-based treatments could help with several facets of diabetes, including "rapid weight loss and altered blood chemistry that make the untreated disease fatal." And of course, one supposes most folks would be pleased to be "off the needle" (not to mention the cost savings accruing from no longer having to buy insulin).
A lot of questions remain, of course. For one thing, there's concern that the effect may be short-term. For another, there's no guarantee that success in rodents will translate to curing people. Still, one hopes that this will indeed be the case.
Good for science!