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There is a lot of excitement and progress in the field of Type 1 diabetes research. While there is no cure yet, the new treatments and technologies that are being developed are helping people with Type 1 diabetes to live longer, healthier lives. The following are some of the top advancements in the treatment of Type 1 diabetes.
- Artificial pancreas/automated insulin delivery (AID) systems: These systems combine the technology of an insulin pump with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to adjust insulin delivery based on real-time glucose readings. This can help to regulate blood sugar more effectively than traditional methods that rely on manual injections or pump adjustments. Several AID systems are now commercially available, and more are in development.
- Stem cell therapy: Stem cell therapy is a promising new approach to treating Type 1 diabetes. Stem cells can be used to generate new insulin-producing beta cells, which can then be transplanted into the body. Several clinical trials of stem cell therapy for Type 1 diabetes are underway.
- Islet cell transplantation: Islet cell transplantation is another promising treatment for Type 1 diabetes. Islet cells are the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. In an islet cell transplant, islet cells from a deceased donor are transplanted into the body of a person with Type 1 diabetes. Islet cell transplantation can effectively improve blood sugar control, but it requires lifelong immunosuppression medication. We reached an incredible milestone this year when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Lantidra, the first allogeneic (donor) pancreatic islet cellular therapy made from deceased donor pancreatic cells for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes.
- Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is a treatment that helps to retrain the immune system to stop attacking beta cells. Several immunotherapy approaches for Type 1 diabetes are currently in development, including some that have shown promising results in early clinical trials. These drugs work in various ways to slow the progression of the disease, delay the onset of complications, and improve quality of life. One of the most exciting new drugs is teplizumab, which was approved by the FDA in 2022. Teplizumab is a monoclonal antibody that targets T cells, a Type of white blood cell that destroys insulin-producing beta cells. In clinical trials, teplizumab was shown to delay the onset of Type 1 diabetes by a median of 2 years in people with pre-diabetes. Another promising new drug is pegcetacoplan, which is still investigational. Pegcetacoplan is a complement inhibitor that targets the complement system, a part of the immune system that can also play a role in the destruction of beta cells. In clinical trials, pegcetacoplan was shown to slow the progression of Type 1 diabetes and improve blood sugar control. Other new drugs being investigated for treating Type 1 diabetes include bimekizumab, tolebrutinib, and verapamil. These drugs are all in the early stages of clinical development but have shown promising results.
It is also important to note that people can make several lifestyle changes to help manage their Type 1 diabetes and delay the development of complications. These changes include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and monitoring blood sugar levels closely.