- Posted June 21, 2014 by
Researchers Have Found a Way To Reverse Type 1 Diabetes
New hope was revealed for those suffering from type 1 diabetes at the 74th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association’s annual meeting held recently in San Francisco, California. Dr. William Ridgeway, and a team of researchers from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, have potentially discovered a completely new method of reversing type 1 diabetes that holds great promise.
Scientists and doctors have known for a long time that patients with type 1 diabetes don't produce enough insulin. Without daily insulin injections, glucose levels in these unfortunate individuals rises so quickly, it can lead to comma and death. Thus, type 1 diabetes is a very serious, albeit treatable, disease that greatly impacts one's quality of life.
After decades of research, it was found that the underlying cause of type 1 diabetes is actually an autoimmune disease response where one's own immune system attacks their own body. Specifically, T-cells from the immune system attack and destroy the beta cells of the pancreas that are responsible for producing insulin.
Most treatments for type 1 diabetes have focused on suppressing, or even eliminating, the T-cells of the over-zealous immune system. However, Dr. Ridgeway's team focuses instead on an antibody called TLR4 they have discovered that can protect the pancreas' beta cells from being destroyed by the T-cells.
So far, the use of the TLR4 antibody has only been used in diabetic mice. However, the result is so convincing that it has doctors and their type 1 diabetic patients thinking this could be the type 1 diabetes cure they have been waiting for! Moreover, the pathway in which the TLR4 antibiotic works in the immune system in mice is very similar to the pathway of TLR4 in the human immune system. Because of this, scientists think it should work in humans as well.
Type 1 diabetes is not to be confused with type 2 diabetes which is far more prevalent. In fact, according to the United States Centers For Control and Prevention (CDC), only about five percent of all diabetics have type 1 diabetes. However, this is still millions of people who are affected by type 1 diabetes. For every 100,000 people in the United States, it is reported that ten to twenty of them will develop type 1 diabetes in their lifetime. In most cases, type 1 diabetes is first diagnosed in children or very young adults.
The underlying mechanism for type 2 diabetes is very different than the underlying mechanism for type 1 diabetes. Most type 2 diabetics produce normal amounts of insulin, or even higher than normal amounts of insulin. There are also a lot of home remedies (see: remedios caseros para la diabetes). However, the cell membranes in type 2 diabetics become resistant to the effect of insulin. On the other hand, in type 1 diabetics, there is no cell membrane resistance to insulin but the body does not produce enough insulin. This is why insulin injections work reasonably well in type 1 diabetics.
Type 1 diabetes is most often described as "incurable." However, as medical research advances, we are seeing an increasing number of amazing cures never thought possible before. There has long been talk of the possibility of an islet cell transplant where beta cells and surrounding tissue from a healthy pancreas are transplanted into the pancreas of an individual with type 1 diabetes. As remarkable as this sounds, this technique only has the potential to help a small percentage of people suffering from type 1 diabetes.
One of the most amazing aspects of Dr. Ridgeway's exciting research is the fact that it could potentially be applied to almost everyone who has type 1 diabetes, i.e. it could help almost everyone suffering from type 1 diabetes. Stay tuned as this potential new method of treating type 1 diabetes is approved for human trials.