eam of researchers from the University of California has come up with a way to help those who suffer from type 1 diabetes. According to their paper, which was later published in the Science Translation Magazine, T-Reg cells could restore insulin production, and can also protect insulin carrier cells from an autoimmune attack.
In T1D, or insulin-dependent diabetes, high levels of glucose are found in the blood stream because the beta cells in the pancreas, those who are responsible for insulin production, are being wiped out by our immune system. According to some statistics, T1D only accounts for a limited number of cases. Usually 5 to 10 percent of patients suffering from diabetes have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Unfortunately, there’s no way of preventing the onset of type 1 diabetes, although researchers have discovered that if they administer immunosuppressive drugs to the patients, in the early stages of the disease, many beta cells would be protected from an autoimmune response. This does not completely halt the destruction of the insulin production cells, but it will slow it down.
But there is still some hope out there for those diagnosed with this disease. By studying how our own immune system attacks the insulin carriers, the team of scientists from California, have developed a drug that can significantly boost insulin production.
They found out that tinkering with the regulatory T cells, the cells that ensure that the insulin carriers are not attacked by our antibodies, could in fact restore health insulin production in a patient. Basically, the doctors harvest healthy T-Reg cells from a patient’s bloodstream, puts them a test tube and multiplies them.
In their clinical trial, a batch of healthy regulatory T cells were multiplied 1500 times and then reinserted in the bloodstream. The result was that the pancreas resumed normal insulin production. According to their preliminary observation, this is hardly a permanent cure. This procedure would only help the patient’s body to resume normal insulin production for one year.
The team of scientists are still testing the wonder drug and, according to their own projection, if the cure is refined, it could very well help patients to better manage their condition. Moreover, by regularly administrating this drug, the doctors could very well prevent other T1D related complications such as rheumatoid arthritis, retinopathy, a myriad of heart disease and even obesity.
Test are still being conducted in order to rule out any side-effects of the procedure and to see if the vaccine really works.
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