NORFOLK -- Scientists at Eastern Virginia Medical School are part of an international effort working to determine whether Type 1 diabetes is caused by a virus.

They hope to have the answer and a vaccine within three years.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone essential to life. A new machine purchased by EVMS, purchased with a grant, breaks down which, if any, viruses are in pancreatic tissues, to less then 10 ppm.

'The methods we are using are unbiased. So for the mass spectrometer, what you put in is what you get out. There is no way to tweak the results. That's why it's very exciting because we really don't know what to expect,' said Julius O. Nyalwidhe, PhD, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Cell Biology, who is overseeing the EVMS part of the project.

Dr. Alberto Pugliese at the University of Miami Florida is leading the group and putting together the grant, along with Dr. Mark Atkinson, Director of the JDRF nPOD program at the University of Florida.

Each year, more than 13,000 young people are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. People with Type 1 diabetes must take daily injections of insulin to survive.

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