Diabetes affects millions of people worldwide, with injecting insulin almost a daily occurrence for many, but a new discovery by Scientists may see the end of injecting.
Scientists and researchers in the U.S have shown that it may be possible to restore insulin production for up to a year by boosting the immune system.
Type 1 Diabetes is relatively common affecting hundred’s of thousand’s of sufferers in the U.K alone. Insulin injections help to regulate blood suger levels for sufferers.
Those suffering with Type 1 Diabetes do not have enough insulin- making cells called ‘T-regs’ to protect them in their immune system. Insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas are attacked by the disease, adding to the fact that they are less of the ‘T-regs’ that millions of healthy people would normally have.
Scientists at the University of California and Yale have conducted trials whereby ‘T-regs’ cells have been removed from the patient, increased in a laboratory by 1,500 times, then put back into the bloodstream.
The revolutionary process could see the end of insulin injections and transform the lives many diabetes sufferers. Dr Jefferey Bluestone, Professor in Metabolism and Endocrinology at the University of California commented on the discovery by saying “This could be a game-changer”.
“By using T-regs to ‘re-educate’ the immune system, we may be able to really change the course of this disease. “We expect T-regs to be an important part of diabetes therapy in the future.”
Within the trial, patients aged between 18 -43 had two to four million ‘T-reg’ cells removed from two cups of blood. The recently diagnosed diabetes patients then had their ‘T-reg’ cells separated, grown, and then permeated back into the bloodstream.
The condition is specifically autoimmune, as diabetes not only attacks foreign bodies but also healthy blood cells. Other autoimmune conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis could also benefit from the new discovery.
The Science Translational Medicine journal has published the research.