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Science / Medicine : Key Link in Diabetes Traced

October 19, 1987

A single link in a chain-like molecule of the immune system may raise or lower the risk of getting the most severe form of diabetes, suggesting possible strategy for preventing the disease, scientists say.

In its protective form, the link may keep the body from attacking its own natural insulin factories by mistake, an onslaught that many scientists believe triggers insulin-dependent diabetes, researchers said.

But "this is only part of the genetic puzzle" behind the disease, said Hugh McDevitt, professor of medicine and medical microbiology at the Stanford University Medical School. McDevitt, John Todd of Stanford and John Bell of John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England, reported the work in the British journal Nature.

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