Type 1 Diabetes Prevented in Animal Model

A way to reverse and possibly prevent type 1 diabetes has been discovered through an animal model experiment, according to new research published in Endocrinology.

Thomas Burris and his colleagues from Saint Louis University found they could block the autoimmune process that destroys beta cells and leads to diabetes.

For the research the team focused on a specific immune "T-cell" type, called TH17.

"None of the animals on the treatment developed diabetes even when we started treatment after significant beta cell damage had already occurred," Burris said in a press statement.

"We believe this type of treatment would slow the progression of type 1 diabetes in people or potentially even eliminate the need for insulin therapy."

TH17 Cells Could Be The Solution

Researchers found that by targeting the receptors for the development of TH17 cells they were able to stop the autoimmune process from being triggered and spare beta cells.

This resulted in a reversal of diabetes in mice with the condition, suggesting that the autoimmune response that occurs with type 1 diabetes could potentially be prevented in humans.

"These results confirm that TH17 cells likely play a key role in the development of type 1 diabetes and suggest that the use of drugs that target this cell type may offer a new treatment for the illness," said researchers.

Source: Saint Louis University Medical Center
Image courtesy of pat138241/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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