Type 1 Diabetes Could See Benefits From Immunotherapy
Type 1 diabetes is an immunological disorder that results when the body uses its immune system to attack the pancreas. This explanation is according to Michael Haller, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Florida. Allow since the pancreas is in control of insulin, the condition changes the body’s insulin levels which results in patients needing to take shots of insulin.
Some researchers are also looking into the possibility that stem cell therapy could be used to replace cells that have been determined to be dysfunctional in the pancreas. However, other researchers and companies are focusing on other areas by engineering better functioning insulin pumps. These insulin pumps could potentially function as an artificial pancreas.
The other areas that need to be researched according to Haller is the ability to interrupt the immune system’s attack on the pancreas. By doing this, the researchers see to determine if the Type 1 diabetes patients can still make insulin without any outside aid. The study has potential based on the fact that there was a benefit for patients by taking this approach to treatment.
Recently, Haller was the leader on a study that combined two drugs that are not typically used in diabetes treatment to preserve the function of the insulin-producing beta cells.
This drug combination has a positive long-term effect on the blood sugar levels of patients which permits them to make insulin on their own. At some point the results will get to the point of making immunotherapy the standard for newly diagnosed diabetes patients, according to Haller. He believes that this particular combination of drugs could have the greatest results.
In the study, the patients were given a low dose of anti-thymocyte globulin, or ATG, an anti-rejection drug for organ transplant patients, followed by pegylated G-CSF, used for cancer patients to boost immune cells. At the conclusion of the study patients saw killer and regulatory T-cells balance return.
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