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Immunotherapy effective to treat Type 1 diabetes

14-08-2017 05:00 PM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream

Immunotherapy effective to treat Type 1 diabetes | My Indian Dream

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Rigorous clinical trials give positive results

A form of immunotherapy used to treat childhood food allergies has been proved effective in treating Type 1 diabetes. British investigators gave a chemical that gives rise to insulin to people diagnosed with the metabolic disorder.

This experimental treatment has produced the desired result by putting an end to the immune system’s assaults on the body’s ability to produce insulin. For years, scientist’s efforts to treat Type 1 diabetes through immune therapy have not met with success. Now, it is believed that this experimental treatment is an appealing strategy for prevention in patients with early stages of Type 1 diabetes and in children who are at high genetic risk of developing the disease.

Diabetic patients who received a placebo treatment required steadily increasing insulin doses to maintain glycemic control. Even though the body’s immune system destroyed the pancreatic cells that normally produce the essential hormone, their daily insulin use grew on average 50 percent.

Type 1 diabetes is an immune disorder just like food allergies in which the immune system perceives a harmless or even necessary agent ( like insulin making cells in the pancreas or ingested peanuts) as a danger and tries to destroy it. Thus, it triggers discomfort in the form of itching, rashes or swelling. In diabetes, it restricts an important function of the body of deriving fuel from food.

Researchers were cautious while conducting this experiment for diabetic cases as they felt that it could accelerate or strengthen the immune system's attack on insulin-producing pancreatic cells, or cause dangerous allergic reactions.  

However, in the recent study, researchers found that injections of an immunotherapeutic agent caused no distressing response. There was not even redness or swelling at the site of injection. Hence, this method was declared "very favorable" for treating Type 1 diabetes.


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