Cure for type 1?

Got this from a news blog on my phone. Does anyone have any more information about this?

Diabetic mice ‘cured’ with drugs

Diabetes is managed with regular insulin injections US scientists have managed to rid diabetic mice of the effects of the disease using a cocktail of drugs.

The mice, who had type 1 diabetes, started producing their own insulin after taking a mixture of four drugs.

Previously the same team at Harvard University had only been able to stop the destruction of the cells which make insulin, not regenerate them.

But in a study reported in the New Scientist, they say adding another drug to the original cocktail did just that.

They now hope to start trials in humans.

The only way to manage diabetes is through regular injections of insulin and until now, research into a cure has focused on transplanting the pancreatic beta cells which produce the hormone from donors.

However this is complicated - both because of the difficulty in finding a donor and the problems of rejection - so regenerating a person’s own cells is seen as far better option.

Extra enzyme

Last year, Dr Terry Strom and his team demonstrated that they could stop the on-going destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in mice using a combination of three drugs, although they were unable to regenerate the cells.

It is exciting that these drugs could stop the immune system from attacking insulin-producing cells, but it is too early to tell whether these cells recovered in the mice or if new cells were produced

Iain Frame
Diabetes UK

However, when they added an extra ingredient - an enzyme called alpha 1 anti-trypsin - a significant rise in the number of beta cells was seen.

It is thought this extra drug may ease the inflammation of pancreas, a key feature of the disease.

“It would appear that by altering the inflammatory state that surrounds this autoimmune disease, you can create an environment that enables expansion of the beta cell mass,” said Dr Strom.

He added that it was too early to say whether the beta cells which had stopped making insulin had recovered, or whether new ones were being produced.

Dr Iain Frame, director of research at Diabetes UK said: "This could potentially be very important research in finding a better treatment for diabetes.

“More research is needed as initial studies have only been conducted in mice, but Diabetes UK is pleased that clinical trials are planned and look forward to hearing the results.”

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That about sums up my response to it. No mention of side affects, but I bet like with any drug there are some.

It is good to know that people are out there working hard to try and find a cure.

I view this like any other mouse cure … few translate into human success. However, I do agree with the basic philosophy, which is that any cure will require multiple components to address a number of different issues: something to arrest the autoimmune problem which caused the disease in the first place, something to replace the beta cell mass which has been completely destroyed, perhaps something to keep everything working on an ongoing basis. Whether this means it involves a drug cocktail, a combination of drugs and cell transplantation, or whether some combination can establish beta cell regeneration … there may be several approaches which may work equally well. Lets hope that this approach can be tested successfully in humans, and can become widely available … but I won’t hold my breath waiting for it!!

I forget where I read it, but I read something about NEWLY diagnosed T1 diabetics having success with certain drugs. I think they really just delayed the full-blown diagnosis, though. Still, I like to read anything I can get my hands on, even if it is 10 yrs away.

I love reading about stem cell research. It looks like it’ll be quite some time before it’s introduced, but it’s fascinating stuff.