Immunotherapy Promising for Diabetes

Immunotherapy Promising for Diabetes

Immunotherapy Promising for Diabetes

A larger study is needed to determine efficacy, but the small study has proven the safety profile of immunotherapy and its promising future as a therapy for treating type I diabetes.

There is an ongoing race between scientists trying to restore insulin secretion within the human body in diabetes patients, by artificially created insulin-producing cells.

A twice-daily injection with "small fragments" of protein molecules helped prevent cells from attacking insulin, researchers at King's College London (KCL) and Cardiff University observed.

Participants receiving the immunotherapy did not need to increase their insulin dose, unlike their placebo counterparts, demonstrating that the therapy allowed them to stabilize.

Professor Peakman, who led the trial, said: "When someone is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes they still typically have between 15% and 20% of their beta cells".

The researchers reported their findings in the most recent (August 9th) edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

The disease starts when the body mistakenly targets cells in the pancreas that maintain blood sugar levels.

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Just as lab-produced chemical snippets of peanuts accustom an overactive immune system to the eventual introduction of real peanuts, the researchers hoped that the chemical flag they devised would teach the immune systems of newly diagnosed diabetics to recognize insulin and call off their attack on its source.

"The peptide technology used in our trial is not only appears to be safe for patients at this stage, but it also has a noticeable effect on the immune system".

The subjects were mostly in their mid- to late 20s, and had all been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in the previous 100 days.

No therapies exist to stop patients' T cells from progressively destroying insulin-producing β-cells inside the pancreas.

Each year in the United States, some 40,000 people get a new diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, a disorder that can upend a life of carefree eating and reduce life expectancy by a decade.

In a landmark, placebo-controlled trial for treatments that could halt the progression of type 1 diabetes, scientists report that an immunotherapy was safe and showed metabolic effects.

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