I finally got a chance to read the Cell paper by the Melton team on Betatrophin and it is quite cool. Update — Unfortunately the Betatrophin paper discussed here originally back in 2013 has now largely been proven to have come to incorrect conclusions (for more read this).
I think one big question is whether this can this be translated into humans, but it seems very encouraging.
Another question is whether Betatrophin or some derivative when given as a chemical pill to patients could help control blood sugar. In other words, do we have a drug here? I hope so!
A final big question is the mechanism by which Betatrophin works as the authors conclude in the paper:
We do not yet know the mechanism of action for betatrophin. It may act directly or indirectly on b cells to control their proliferation. Identification of the betatrophin receptor and/or other possible cofactors will help to explain how the liver and fat interact with the pancreas to regulate b cell mass. Nonetheless, identification of betatrophin as a hormone that can exert control on b cell replication and b cell mass opens a new door to possible diabetes therapy.
Above Melton and his postdoc Peng Yi (see image at the top) discuss the discovery and give us a behind the scenes look at what went into in the video above.
How often do we get a window into the world of a big scientific discovery like this video? Very intriguing!