Hope for hundreds of thousands with type 1 diabetes as major study reveals ... trends now
A rheumatoid arthritis drug can suppress the progression of type 1 diabetes in newly diagnosed patients, scientists have said.
In a world-first clinical trial, researchers in Australia found that baricitinib can preserve the body's own insulin production.
As a result, the anti-inflammatory drug, also known by its brand name Olumiant, reduces the amount of insulin patients need to inject to control their blood sugar.
The team said their finding marks a 'huge step-change' in how the condition is managed and treated and could improve 'the ability to control type 1 diabetes'.
Professor Helen Thomas, head of immunology at St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne and study author, said: 'We are very optimistic that this treatment will become clinically available.'
It is thought the drug, made by US pharma giant Eli Lilly, works by dampening down the immune response mounted against insulin-producing cells in people with type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and kills the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Therefore, sufferers have to inject insulin to control their blood sugar levels
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and kills the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
Therefore, sufferers have to inject insulin to control their blood sugar levels.
Around 430,000 Brits and 2million Americans have type 1 diabetes — around eight per cent of diabetes patients. Nine in 10 sufferers have type 2.
The researchers said there is 'a substantial number' of insulin-producing cells still present in the body when type 1 diabetes is first diagnosed.
Professor Thomas Kay, director of St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research, who led the trial, said: 'We wanted to see whether we could protect further destruction of these cells by the immune system.'
His team recruited 91 people, aged between 10 and 30