A faulty sensory nervous system could be the cause of type 1 diabetes. 85% of human diabetics are believed to have impaired sensory nerve function, but it has always been assumed to be a consequence of the disease, rather than a cause.
The team wanted to know what would happen if they gave diabetic mice a top-up of substance P, so they injected some directly into the pancreas. Astonishingly, the diabetes disappeared overnight and the mice remained diabetes-free for weeks, and even months in some cases.
If the same were to happen in humans, a single injection could keep the disease at bay for years, says Dosch.