Research shows ‘promising’ results in a study that enables diabetes patients to continue to produce insulin

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Now a vaccine for diabetes? Swedish research shows ‘promising’ results in trials with medicines that allow patients to continue to produce insulin

  • Swedish scientists claim that a clinical trial for a possible vaccine for type 1 diabetes has shown “promising results.”
  • In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks cells that produce insulin
  • But now researchers have found that injecting a protein into a patient’s lymph nodes preserves their ability to produce insulin

Swedish scientists claim that a clinical trial of a possible vaccine for type 1 diabetes has shown ‘promising results’.

The drug allows patients with the disease to continue to produce insulin, Linköping University researchers said.

In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks the cells that produce insulin, preventing the body from regulating blood sugar.

But now researchers have found that injecting a protein called GAD – glutamic acid decarboxylase – into a patient’s lymph nodes preserves their ability to produce insulin.

Experts said the breakthrough raises hope that scientists can find new treatments for type 1 diabetes

In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks the cells that produce insulin, preventing the body from regulating blood sugar.

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is an unpreventable autoimmune disease that usually develops in childhood, but type 2 is usually caused by poor nutrition.

It affects about 400,000 people in the UK, one of the highest rates in the world. About 1.25 million Americans are also affected.

It starts when the body falsely targets insulin-producing cells in the pancreas that keep blood sugar levels up.

As a result, it can drastically affect the most important organs of the body and patients are forced to inject themselves regularly with insulin.

Researchers have been working to figure out how to stop the immune system from attacking the insulin-producing cells.

Professor Johnny Ludvigsson of Linköping University has spent years studying the possibility of vaccinating people who have newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes with GAD.

It is hoped that the immune system will become tolerant to the body’s own GAS and stop destroying the insulin-producing cells – which could eventually mean that patients could be making some insulin.

“Studies have shown that even an extremely small production of insulin in the body is very beneficial for the health of the patient,” said Professor Ludvigsson, who works in the University’s Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences.

He continued: ‘People with diabetes who produce a certain amount of insulin naturally do not easily develop low blood sugar, hypoglycemia.

“They also have a lower risk of developing the life-threatening condition ketoacidosis, which can develop with low insulin levels.”

In a phase 2 clinical trial, 190 participants between the ages of 12 and 24 who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes within six months were injected with the GAD protein in their lymph nodes.

One group received three injections, given one month apart, of a substance called GAD alum. The other group was given a placebo.

The participant’s natural insulin production was measured at the start of the study and after 15 months. The scientists also recorded the participants’ long-term blood sugar levels and how much supplemental insulin they used each day.

The study, published in Diabetes Care, found that genetic factors played a role in how well the participant responded to the developing diabetes vaccine.

Researchers have been working to figure out how to stop the immune system from attacking the insulin-producing cells.

Researchers have been working to figure out how to stop the immune system from attacking the insulin-producing cells.

Genes, known as HLA genes, can look for proteins that reside on the surface of some cells and act as ‘holders’ for the proteins. The HLA genes then expose them to cells of the immune system that pass by.

If the protein comes from something harmful, such as bacteria, the immune system forms antibodies against the foreign protein. But unfortunately, this process also causes the immune system to attack its own proteins, such as insulin producers.

The researchers found in their study that participants with the HA gene variant HLA-DR3-DQ2 exposed the GAD proteins to the immune system, triggering type 1 diabetes.

Professor Ludvigsson said that about half of the patients in the new study had the HLA-DR3-DQ2 gene variant.

While the vaccine did not provide any significant treatment in terms of how much insulin production was preserved, the shots did have a positive effect for those patients with the HLA gene variant and did not appear to have any adverse side effects for the participants.

The patients in the subgroup with the DR3-DQ2 type of HLA genes did not lose insulin production as quickly as the other patients. In contrast, we saw no significant effect in the patients who did not have this HLA type, ‘said Professor Ludvigsson.

He added: ‘Treatment with GAD alum appears to be a promising, simple and safe way to maintain insulin production in about half of patients with type 1 diabetes, those who have the correct type of HLA.

“That’s why we look forward to conducting larger studies, and we hope these will lead to a drug that can change the progression of type 1 diabetes.”

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR DIABETES PATIENTS TO MEASURE THEIR GLUCOSE CASE?

Diabetes is a serious lifelong condition that occurs when the amount of sugar in the blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly.

Patients should check their glucose levels regularly to avoid developing potentially fatal complications.

Type 1 diabetes patients are often recommended to test their blood sugar at least four times a day. For type 2 patients, doctors recommend testing twice a day.

Blood glucose should be between 3.5 and 5.5 mmol / l before a meal and less than 8 mmol / l two hours after a meal.

Diabetes patients should check their glucose levels regularly to avoid developing potentially fatal complications

Diabetes patients should check their glucose levels regularly to avoid developing potentially fatal complications

Hypoglycemia (when blood sugar falls below 4 mmol / L) can sometimes lead to patients falling into a coma in severe cases.

However, it can usually be treated by eating or drinking 15-20 g of fast-acting carbohydrates, such as 200 ml of Lucozade Energy Original.

Patients may see hypoglycemia when they suddenly feel tired, have difficulty concentrating or feel dizzy.

Type 1 diabetics are more likely to have hypoglycemia because of the drugs they take, including insulin.

Hyperglycemia (if blood sugar is above 11.0 mmol / L two hours after a meal) life-threatening complications can also occur.

It happens when the body either has too little insulin, seen in type 1, or can’t use the supply properly, usually in type 2.

In the short term, it can lead to conditions such as ketoacidosis, which release ketones in the body.

If untreated, hyperglycaemia can lead to long-term complications such as impotence and limb amputations.

Regular exercise can help lower blood sugar over time, and following a healthy diet and meal plan can also prevent dangerous spikes.

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