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Common BP Drug May Prevent Onset Of Type 1 Diabetes

For the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the team used a supercomputer, on the lab bench, in mice, and in humans

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Type 1 Diabetes

A drug commonly used to control high blood pressure may be also effective in preventing the onset of Type 1 diabetes in up to 60 percent of those at risk, researchers say.

The drug, methyldopa, has been used for over 50 years to treat high blood pressure in pregnant women and children and is also on the World Health Organization’s list of essential drugs.

Methyldopa was found to block a molecule called DQ8 — found in some 60 percent at the risk of getting Type 1 diabetes — which significantly increases the chance of getting the disease.

Blocking specifically the DQ8 molecule could also block the onset of the disease, the study found.

 

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“This is the first personalized treatment for Type 1 diabetes prevention,” said Aaron Michels, Associate Professor of medicine at University of Colorado – Anschutz.

“With this drug, we can potentially prevent up to 60 percent of Type 1 diabetes in those at the risk for the disease. This is very significant development,” Michels added.

Type 1 Diabetes

For the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the team used a supercomputer, on the lab bench, in mice, and in humans.

They found that methyldopa not only blocked DQ8, but it did not also harm the immune function of other cells like many immunosuppressant drugs do.

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“We can now predict with almost 100 percent accuracy who is likely to get Type 1 diabetes. The goal, with this drug, is to delay or prevent the onset of the disease among those at risk,” Michels said.

The drug is taken orally, three times a day.

Besides, diabetes, the same approach of blocking specific molecules can be used in other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, coeliac disease, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus and others, the researchers noted. (IANS)

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Novel Hope for Stem Cell Approach to Treat Diabetes

'Another idea would be to use gene-editing tools to alter the genes of beta cells in ways that would allow them to 'hide' from the immune system after implantation.'

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Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

The researchers, from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said that when they transplanted the beta cells into mice that could not make insulin, the new cells began secreting insulin within a few days, and they continued to control blood sugar in the animals for months.

‘We’ve been able to overcome a major weakness in the way these cells previously had been developed. The new insulin-producing cells react more quickly and appropriately when they encounter glucose,’ said lead author Jeffrey R. Millman, PhD, Assistant Professor.

‘The cells behave much more like beta cells in people who don’t have diabetes,’ he said.

For the study, published in the journal Stem Cell Reports, the team grew beta cells from human stem cells, but they made numerous changes to the ‘recipe’ for producing insulin-producing beta cells, treating the cells with different factors at different times as they grew and developed to help the cells mature and function more effectively.

Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

After that process was complete, the researchers transplanted the beta cells into diabetic mice with suppressed immune systems so that they wouldn’t reject the human cells.

Those transplanted cells produced insulin at levels that effectively controlled blood sugar in the mice, functionally curing their diabetes for several months, which, for most of the mice in the study, was about the length of their lives.

The researcher said he can’t predict exactly when such cells may be ready for human trials but believes there are at least two ways that stem cell-derived beta cells could be tested in human patients.

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‘The first would be to encapsulate the cells in something like a gel — with pores small enough to prevent immune cells from getting in but large enough to allow insulin to get out,’ he said.

‘Another idea would be to use gene-editing tools to alter the genes of beta cells in ways that would allow them to ‘hide’ from the immune system after implantation.’ (IANS)