Research shows that low doses of a class of cancer drugs called lysine deacetylase inhibitors have protective properties against the development of type 1 diabetes.
The research was carried out on mice by the University of Copenhage, in Denmark. The mice used in the study were those that had a high likelihood of developing type 1 diabetes and a group of mice were given low dose treatment with the drugs vorinostat or givinostat in their drinking water.
The researchers reviewed the effect of the drugs and found incidence of type 1 diabetes was reduced by 45% by givinostat and 38% by vorinostat. In addition, pancreatic insulin content doubled compared with untreated mice.
Lysine deacetylase inhibitors are drugs which have been developed to treat lymphoma, a cancer in which white blood cells, important cells within the immune system, multiply too quickly.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system is over-aggressive and incorrectly targets and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.
The researchers note that vorinostat and givinostat work by preventing the immune system receiving signals that the insulin producing cells are inflamed and therefore preventing these cells from being targeted by the immune systems killer T cells .
Whilst the treatment has shown promise in mice, further research and human clinical trials will be needed to confirm whether the treatment is safe and effective in humans with type 1 diabetes.

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