Pancreas is able to regenerate following partial removal.

View inside a pancreas showing islet of Langerhans (pink balls) acinar tissue (yellow) and blood vessels (red).

Dr Gordon Cameron investigates regeneration of the pancreas, discovering the pancreas is able to regenerate following partial removal.

Treating diabetes

Specialised cells called beta cells in the islets of the pancreas produce insulin, a hormone that triggers the body’s cells to absorb glucose from the blood. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system damages the beta cells in the islets that produce insulin.

Cameron’s study finds the pancreas can regenerate following partial removal; however injections of medicinal insulin – required for treatment of type 1 diabetes – inhibit this regeneration.

Encouraging regrowth

Cameron investigated the impact of another hormone called pituitrin on regeneration. He found that pituitrin injections stimulated growth of islets in the pancreas, more so than after partial removal of the pancreas. These results suggested a potential future treatment strategy for type 1 diabetes.

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