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Corvera Lab is Creating "Good Fat" as a Potential Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes

Is there a way to turn bad fat into good fat? The UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence laboratory of Silvia Corvera, MD, is investigating transforming white fat into beige to harness its ability to burn energy, accelerate metabolism and fight disease.

Dr. Corvera was featured on ABC Boston and NBC Providence about her lab's success in transforming white fat into beige fat, to burn energy and speed metabolism as a potential therapy for type 2 diabetes.

“Fat is fantastic. We all hate it, right? We don’t want to have a lot of fat but it actually keeps us healthy,” said Dr. Corvera, the Endowed Chair in Diabetes Research and professor of molecular medicine. “It turns out that people that carry fat in their legs and arms are actually protected from metabolic disease.”

In 2016, Corvera published in the journal Nature Medicine the method she developed to generate new human fat cells, particularly beneficial beige fat, from precursor cells present in white fat. When these cells were implanted in mice with diabetes, the metabolism of the mice improved.

“We can take fat from any part of your body, make stem cells and then tell them to make brown fat,” said Corvera. “We’ve been able to show in a mouse model that if we take these human cells and make them brown and we put them in the mouse, we improve the mouse metabolism."

Learn more about research taking place in the Corvera Lab.

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