Is Type 2 Diabetes An Autoimmune Disease?
Type 2 diabetes is in the process of being redefined as an autoimmune disease rather than just a metabolic disorder, said an author of a new study published in Nature Medicine this week, the findings of which may lead to new diabetes treatments that target the immune system instead of trying to control blood sugar. As part of the study the researchers showed that an antibody called anti-CD20, which targets and eliminates mature B cells in the immune system, stopped diabetes type 2 developing in lab mice prone to develop the disease, and restored their blood sugar level to normal. Anti-CD20, available in the US under the trade names Rituxan and MabThera, is already approved as a treatment for some autoimmune diseases and blood cancers in humans, but more research is needed to see if it will work against diabetes in humans. The researchers believe that insulin resistance, the hallmark of type 2 diabetes (unlike type 1 diabetes where it is the insulin-producing cells that are destroyed), is the result of B cells and other immune cells attacking the body's own tissues. Co-first author Daniel Winer, now an endocrine pathologist at the University Health Network of the University of Toron Continue reading >>