Final Piece Of Diabetes Type 1 Puzzle Solved

Publish Date
Tuesday, 26 April 2016, 1:49PM
Photo / iStock

Photo / iStock

A complete picture of the areas that the immune system attacks to cause type 1 diabetes has finally been revealed by scientists.

The study, published in the journal Diabetes, discovered the fifth and final critical target at which the immune system takes aim.

These findings could help in treating the disease!

In type 1 diabetes, the immune system destroys the beta cells that make insulin - the hormone needed to keep blood sugar levels under control.

Studies looking at the unique antibodies made by patients with type 1 showed there were five key targets that the immune system attacked:

  • Insulin
  • Glutamate decarboxylase
  • IA-2
  • Zinc transporter-8
  • And the final piece of the puzzle, tetraspanin-7

Some of those names may sound extremely unfamiliar, but those ones are largely involved in secreting or storing the hormone insulin.

Dr. Christie said: "Once the immune system decides it wants to get rid of something it's very hard to stop, so diabetes has proved to be a difficult disease to prevent.

"So we're hoping that, by having identified the major targets in the disease, we can find ways to prevent it by blocking the immune response to these five proteins without leaving that person vulnerable to infections.

"With recent improvements in our understanding of the disease I'm very hopeful we'll develop a treatment now; I have a lot more confidence than even five years ago."

Awesome news for diabetics!

Recap - two types of Diabetes:

  • Type 1 - where the pancreas does not produce any insulin
  • Type 2 - where the pancreas does not produce enough insulin - or the body's cells do not react to insulin