After about 20 years, physicians decipher one of the last puzzles about type 1 diabetes

Revolutionary Breakthrough in Research May Generate New Therapies
For the first time scientists have been able to uncover all affected areas involved in immune system attack on Type 1 Diabetes. The findings could in the future help to develop new and more effective drugs and therapies for the disease.

Researchers from the University of Lincoln have uncovered all affected areas of the human body that are attacked by the immune system in type 1 diabetes. Upon becoming ill, the immune system destroys the beta cells that normally produce insulin. The scientists published the results of their study in the journal "Diabetes".

Medical professionals have made a decisive breakthrough in the treatment of type 1 diabetes. After 20 years, the experts now found the last protein, which is involved in the development of type 1 diabetes significantly.(Image: DOC RABE Media / fotolia.com) medical professionals have made a major breakthrough in the treatment of type 1 diabetes. After 20 years, the experts now found the last protein, which is involved in the development of type 1 diabetes significantly.(Image: DOC RABE Media / fotolia.com)

researchers find all five proteins that are attacked by our immune system
Insulin is a hormone that normally keeps our blood sugar levels under control. In type 1 diabetes, however, the immune system destroys the so-called beta cells that produce insulin. The studies of patients with type 1 diabetes showed five main goals that attacked our immune system. Older studies had already identified some of the affected proteins, but for the past two decades, doctors have been searching in vain for the last affected target area. For the first time, the new study has enabled us to identify all the goals and thereby obtain a complete picture, says lead author Dr. Michael Christie from the University of Lincoln.

physicians hope for new effective therapeutic approaches
The affected areas of the disease include: insulin, glutamate decarboxylase, IA-2, zinc transporter-8 and the final piece of the puzzle: tetraspanin-7.The last four areas mentioned are largely involved in the breakdown or storage of the hormone insulin. Now that all affected proteins are known, the treatment of Type 1 diabetes could be revolutionized in the future, Dr. Christie. If the immune system decides to fight something, it is very difficult to stop this process, which makes the prevention of type 1 diabetes very complicated, says the author. The discovery of all affected proteins will, however, show new ways and possibilities that make a better treatment of the disease possible. This new therapy would have to block the actions of the immune system against the five proteins involved, Dr. Christie. With the recent improvements in our understanding of the disease, I am very confident that we will now develop a treatment that will lead to better outcomes for those affected. Christie continues.

New treatment must prevent damage to insulin-producing cells
There are two main types of diabetes disorders. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or body cells do not respond to insulin, the researchers explain. Type 1 diabetes usually occurs before the age of 40 years and usually early in childhood. The disease is the most common form of diabetes in children, the experts add. To prevent type 1 diabetes, we need to understand how the immune response that causes damage to the insulin-producing cells arises. The new impressive insights help to do just that, says dr. Christie. The findings of the study, in their view, are seen in the long term to improve the development of effective therapies.(as)

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