In Florida, a team of researchers is working on a new treatment that would prevent the destruction of insulin by the patient’s own immune system.
Two drugs are currently being developed in the laboratory of the University of Florida. Thymoglobulin fights against T cells in the body, and Neulasta, helping patients fight inflammation caused by diabetes. Neulasta has also been successfully used for cancer treatments to help the body produce new immune cells that fight inflammation and viruses.
Michael Haller, the head of the team has already started trials on human subjects, and patients have shown increased insulin production after one year of the treatment. He stated in an interview, published by the University of Florida’s site: “We’re trying to wipe out the bad cells and stimulate the good cells at the same time.”
According to the statistics of the American Diabetes Association, the prevalence of Diabetes in America is 9.3 percent. Further, more than eight million cases are undiagnosed. Type 1 diabetes is also often referred to as insulin-dependence. It is caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin and the body becomes acidy, breaking down muscle and fat. It is an auto-immune condition, and – while it can be treated – it cannot be cured.
Today, people living with Type 1 diabetes are mainly reliant on insulin replacement therapies through injection. Blood sugar level needs to be controlled, in order to avoid complications, such as hyperglycemia (high blood glucose level) and hypoglycemia (low level of blood glucose). Type 1 Diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood, and raising a child with the condition creates increased pressure for parents and affects family relationships.
A recent CDC study confirmed that the prevalence of diabetes in the United States increased significantly between 1995 and 2010. Within some states, the increase was over one hundred percent in only fifteen years. The publication confirms that while Type 2 diabetes can be controlled by changing a lifestyle, Type one diabetes is an auto-immune condition that cannot be treated without medical intervention.
The CDC study also states that the rise of diabetes among the U.S, population is likely to continue in the future. Creating a study of a large sample of patients, the researchers confirmed that a 35 percent of the population has symptoms of “prediabetes”; decreased, but not critical insulin level. Diabetes is not only a medical condition; it is the main cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, and can lead to loss of kidney or limb. It is currently the seventh most common cause of deaths in the United States. Further, 60-70 percent of all diabetes patients would develop some type of nervous system disease, affecting their quality of life.
The results of the trial study can create new hopes for millions of Americans who suffer from the condition, and several complications associated with it; such as hypertension, Dyslipidemia, or kidney disease. The new drugs’ success might result in a better quality of life for children and young people who are currently using intensive insulin replacement therapies.
By Laura Farkas