In experimentations researchers discovered that using a pill holding common bacteria found in the human gut can shift the regulator of glucose levels from the pancreas to the upper intestine. It is thought that this "rewiring" of the body could transforming treatment for diabetes - both Types 1 and 2 - and in theory one day offer the possibility of a cure.
Professor John March, leading team research, said: "If it everything really well in people, it could be that they just take the pill and wouldn't have to do whatsoever else to regulate their diabetes. It's likely, though, that it will be used in combination with some other treatment."
Diabetes occurs when the quantity of glucose in a sufferer's blood becomes too high because the body cannot use it correctly. This happens when the pancreas does not create any insulin (Type 1), or not enough insulin to help glucose enter the body's cells - or the insulin that is produced does not work correctly, known as insulin resistance (Type 2).
But the new study recommends a manufactured probiotic pill could shift switch of glucose levels away from the pancreas - addressing both types of diabetes. In print in the journal Diabetes, senior author Professor March and colleagues at Cornell University, New York, told how they had engineered a mutual strain of "friendly" human gut bacteria called Lactobacillus to conceal a peptide - a hormone that discharging insulin in response to food.
Lactobacillus is a probiotic often used to stop and treat diarrhea, as well as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease and some skin sicknesses. Over a period of 90 days, the research team gave the modified probiotic in the form of a pill to a set of diabetic rats. They then observed its effects on blood glucose levels, associating the outcomes with diabetic rats that did not receive it.
And the researchers were happy to discover that the rats which established the modified probiotic had blood glucose levels up to 30 per cent lower than those that did not receive the probiotic. In addition, the team found that the probiotic seemed to convert the rats' upper intestinal cells to act much like pancreatic cells which in good physical shape people secrete insulin and regulate blood glucose levels.
Professor March, of the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell, said this exposed the treatment was affecting the job of glucose control from the pancreas to the upper intestine.
"One of the things that's beneficial about probiotics is that they're generally observed as safe by the Food and Drug Administration," he said. "They're already available, people are already taking them, and they haven't had any hostile side effects.