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Every day researchers are working to find better ways to prevent and treat type 1 diabetes. From creating new drugs to prevent the onset of diabetes to new methods for transplanting beta cells, below is what’s happening in the scientific world that will possibly one day make life better for those diagnosed with this disease.
New Research Therapies:
- Beta Cell Replacement Therapies: There is ongoing research into the development of methods for transplanting functional beta cells into people with type 1 diabetes, either from donated organs or through the use of stem cell-derived beta cells. Research on beta cell transplantation is being conducted by academic institutions such as the University of California, San Francisco, and Harvard University, as well as companies such as ViaCyte and Tolerion.
- Immune Tolerance Induction: Researchers are exploring ways to "re-educate" the immune system to tolerate beta cells to stop the autoimmune attack that causes type 1 diabetes. This research includes the use of oral insulin, anti-CD3 antibodies, and other immunomodulatory drugs. Research on immune tolerance induction is being conducted by academic institutions such as the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, as well as companies such as Provention Bio and Tolerion.
- Islet Encapsulation: Another area of research is the development of methods for encapsulating functional islets in a protective barrier, so they can be transplanted into people with type 1 diabetes without being destroyed by the immune system. Research on islet encapsulation is being conducted by academic institutions such as the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the University of California, San Francisco, as well as companies such as ViaCyte and Xellia Pharmaceuticals.
- T-Cell Targeted Therapies: There is ongoing research into drugs targeting T-cells, the type of immune cells that attack beta cells in type 1 diabetes. These drugs aim to stop the autoimmune attack while preserving the immune system's overall function. Research on T-cell targeted therapies is being conducted by pharmaceutical companies such as Eli Lilly and Sanofi.
- Microbiome Therapies: Some recent studies have suggested that changes in the gut microbiome may contribute to the development of type 1 diabetes, leading to research into the use of prebiotics, probiotics, and fecal microbiota transplants as potential therapies for the disease.
New drugs being developed:
- Sotagliflozin: This oral drug blocks the action of two sodium-glucose cotransporter proteins (SGLT-1 and SGLT-2), which regulate glucose uptake in the body. Sotagliflozin has shown promising results in clinical trials and is being investigated as a potential treatment for Type 1 diabetes. Sanofi and Lexicon Pharmaceuticals are developing this drug.
- Anti-CD20 antibodies: These drugs target and block the action of CD20, a protein found on B-cells, which are involved in the development of autoimmune diseases like Type 1 diabetes. Anti-CD20 antibodies have shown promise in early-stage clinical trials. These drugs are being developed by various pharmaceutical companies, including Roche, Biogen, and others.
These are some of the most promising areas of research in the prevention and treatment of type 1 diabetes, but it is important to note that much of this work is still in the early stages and may not necessarily lead to new treatments in the near future.