Type 1 diabetes: new hope

Representing one in ten cases, the type one diabetes is characterized by an inability of the pancreas to produce enough insulin. Daily injections to control the disease but not cure it. Research today gives new life to the fight against this disease.

Diabetes type one diabetes mellitus (IDDM), diabetes is also called "lean" because one of the first symptoms is weight loss, or "Juvenile" because it affects young people. It follows from the destruction of pancreatic cells that produce the hormone insulin (the islets of Langerhans). Much less common than type two diabetes, said "fat," it represents 10% of cases. This disease is compulsorily treated with insulin.

The type 1 diabetes treated in two weeks?

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine 1, a study gives us will hope tomorrow to have a real means of preventing this disease. Researchers have succeeded in stopping the progression of diabetes with a new immunosuppressive drug. This drug has yielded promising results from the first two weeks of treatment. Beware though, the sample is reduced. A total of 12 patients under treatment was compared with 12 patients not receiving treatment. After one year, nine of 12 patients maintained or improved their insulin production against only two in the control group. Although acting selectively, this treatment has side effects (fever, anemia, nausea ...).

This research is not the first to its kind. Indeed, had two Israeli researchers published similar results in late 2001. Developed by the pharmaceutical company Peptor, a molecule called DiaPep 277 had halted the destruction of pancreatic cells and significantly reduce insulin injections after ten months of treatment in fifteen patients.

Performed on a small sample, these two experiments should be replicated on a larger scale before considering commercialization.
type one diabetes life expectancy
New leads against type 1 diabetes

In October 2001, the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), the Foundation for Medical Research (FRM) and the American Foundation Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF) launched for the first time a major program funding of research projects on the type one diabetes. A total of 3 600 000 € uros are planned for three years.

A year later, the partners presented three projects selected:

  • Identification of susceptibility genes for type one diabetes by studying a large cohort of diabetic patients and families where patients are from consanguineous marriages;
  • Limit the destruction of insulin-producing cells to cause disease through the stimulation of regulatory T cells;
  • Pancreas development by identifying specific growth factors to activate cell proliferation in the pancreas.
This ambitious project funded by Inserm an American foundation could offer new avenues of treatment against the type one diabetes; we can now check that (thanks to daily doses of insulin) and not heal.

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