Immunotherapy for Type 1 Diabetes Is Safe, Study Shows
Immunotherapy could possibly be safely used to treat type 1 diabetes, finds a study published in Science Translational Medicine and conducted by researchers at the Cardiff University School of Medicine and King's College London, both in the United Kingdom.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease – a condition in which the immune system, specifically T cells, does not recognize insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and destroys them. Currently, there are no treatment options to prevent this in people with type 1 diabetes. Although the condition is less common than type 2 diabetes, the CDC estimates type 1 affects as many as 1.05 million people in the United States – 5 percent of people with diabetes.
For the study, participants received either shots of an immunotherapy compound or a placebo at 2- or 4-week intervals for six months, and insulin markers were tested at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months and compared with baseline levels. Researchers discovered no evidence of side effects, and study participants’ beta cells were not impaired or reduced as a result of the therapy. At 12 months, daily insulin intake in the placebo group increased by 50 percent, but the immunotherapy group maintained stable levels of insulin use.