A new study by scientists in the United States have claimed that they had produced a combination therapy that was able to reverse established type 1 diabetes in laboratory mice.
The researchers, from the University of Florida and the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, whose work was reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine, hope that their breakthrough could lead to treatments for type 1 diabetes in humans that are beneficial in the long term. The developed a combination treatment of bone marrow transplantation and substances that help to promote cell growth that produces insulin, the hormone that type 1 diabetes patients lack.
They claimed that a dual strategy prevents the immune system from killing off beta cells while also replenishing their supply. In addition, the study showed that the cells which produce insulin can come from other types of cells altogether.
The team is hoping to put together a national collaboration to investigate their findings further and develop the new combination therapy. Currently, the only possible therapy for reversing established type 1 diabetes is the transplantation of pancreatic islets that contain the insulin-producing beta cells, although chronic rejection is common with this treatment and it is only effective for around three years.
Lead author Defu Zeng said “If our therapy is successfully translated to humans, patients will be able to have a life without type 1 diabetes – that’s the exciting part.”

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