New treatments for type 1 diabetes can actually slow down the progression of the disease. An experimental treatment that targeted insulin resistant cells showed that the resistance can be minimized. Researchers have found that when patients are treated with an antibody called ChAglyCD3 insulin making cells were better preserved. Subjects who underwent trials in this study were able to reduce their insulin intake for almost one and half years after the treatment. In type 1 diabetes it is difficult to control the blood glucose level as insulin secreting beta cells get damaged or killed by the body’s immune system. However, when treated with ChAglyCD3 antibody further loss of beta cells of the pancreas was achieved. This treatment has to be given shortly after diagnosing type 1 diabetes.
In the antibody treatment study 80 people who were recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes received the antibody intravenously for six consecutive days and some in that 80 received placebo. The participants in that study were followed for one and half years. During this time their daily insulin intake and pancreatic functions were closely followed and measured. At the end of the study it was noted that those patients who were given placebo had to progressively take more insulin, while those who received the antibody and had more insulin secreting beta cells benefited the greatest. This conclusively proved that antibody treatment taken along with other treatment was a better therapy for treatment of diabetes type 1.
Insulin replacement therapy is another promising treatment for diabetes type 1. In this insulin is injected into the body with the help of a pump. However, this treatment has to be complimented with dietary management and regular monitoring of blood glucose levels using modern blood glucose meters. Today genetic recombination techniques enable us to produce most commonly used insulin. Earlier pig or cattle and even fish insulin was used. Drug manufacturers like Eli Lilly, Sanofi-Aventis and Novo-Nordisk are major suppliers of insulin in the developed world.
Type 1 diabetes needs prompt treatment, the absence of which may lead to coma. Diabetic ketoacidosis can also occur and can prove fatal if not treated. Insulin treatment has to be continued for life. However, this situation will only change with the availability of a new therapy or a cure. Today continuous blood glucose monitors are available which forewarn patients when the blood glucose level drops low or goes high. However, they are expensive and have their limitations. In extreme cases pancreatic transplant is an option, however, continued immunosuppression can be dangerous and insulin replacement therapy remains the best option. There are several vaccines that are being developed and other anti-antibody advances are also being studied and examined.
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