End of daily injections for diabetes as scientists restore insulin production
The end of daily injections for diabetes sufferers could be in sight after scientists showed it is possible to restore insulin production for up to a year by boosting the immune system.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Britain suffer from Type 1 diabetes and need to inject themselves daily to keep blood sugar levels under control.
The disease attacks insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas. Healthy people have billions of ‘peacekeeping’ cells called ‘T-regs’ which protect insulin-making cells from the immune system but people suffering Type 1 diabetes do not have enough.
"The T-reg intervention frees people like me from the daily grind of insulin therapy and lifelong fear of complication"
Mary Rooney, Type 1 diabetes patient
Now researchers at the University of California and Yale have shown that the ‘T-regs’ can be removed from the body, increased by 1,500x in the laboratory and infused back into the bloodstream to restore normal function.
An initial trial of 14 people has shown that the therapy is safe, and can last up to a year.
"This could be a game-changer," said Dr Jeffrey Bluestone, Professor in Metabolism and Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
“By using T-regs to 're-educate' the immune system, we may be able to really change the course of this disease.
"We expect T-regs to be an important part of diabetes therapy in the future."
Sufferes of type 1 and type 2 diabetes may have to inject insulin daily Photo: Alamy
The treatment also prevents the disease progressing which could save sufferers from blindness and amputat Continue reading