Immunotherapy For Type 1 Diabetes Deemed Safe In First U.S. Trial

Immunotherapy For Type 1 Diabetes Deemed Safe In First U.S. Trial

Immunotherapy For Type 1 Diabetes Deemed Safe In First U.S. Trial

In the first U.S. safety trial of a new form of immunotherapy for type 1 diabetes (T1D), led by UC San Francisco scientists and physicians, patients experienced no serious adverse reactions after receiving infusions of as many as 2.6 billion cells that had been specially selected for their potential to protect the body’s ability to produce insulin.
T1D is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system, which normally defends against infections, somehow goes awry and targets insulin-secreting cells, called beta cells, in the pancreas. Many T1D therapies aim to tackle this problem by suppressing the immune response, but that approach can have serious consequences, including an increased susceptibility to infection or cancer.
As reported in the Nov. 25 online issue of Science Translational Medicine, however, the cells used in the completed Phase 1 trial, known as regulatory T cells (Tregs; pronounced “tee-regs”), are instead based on the concept of “immune tolerance” – these cells may have the capability to dampen the immune system’s assault on beta cells while leaving its infection-fighting capabilities intact.
“This could be a game-changer,” said first author Jeffrey A. Bluestone, PhD, the A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professor in Metabolism and Endocrinology at UCSF. “For type 1 diabetes, we’ve traditionally given immunosuppressive drugs, but this trial gives us a new way forward. By using Tregs to ‘re-educate’ the immune system, we may be able to really change the course of this disease.”
While the trial was not designed to ass Continue reading

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Using artificial intelligence to revolutionize diabetes treatment

Using artificial intelligence to revolutionize diabetes treatment

A Silicon Valley startup wants to use artificial intelligence to help diabetes patients better navigate health and lifestyle decisions.
Suggestic, an application and Internet-based platform, is looking to fuse medical advances with a growing trend of personalized healthcare — making interventions specific to the individual patient. The company launched a beta version of its technology earlier this month and has a few thousand people signed up in their waiting list to try out the service.
“We call it the ‘lifestyle GPS’ because we want it to work as a personal assistant to help diabetic people to have a better lifestyle,” Shai Rosen, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Suggestic, told Devex. “We want to give people a virtual presence right next to them 24 [hours a day] and 7 [days a week] to make small habit-changing choices.”
Founded in July 2014, Suggestic focuses on creating personalized interventions in just about every aspect of type 2 diabetes patients’ lives — and even those of their family and friends.
Rosen sees his group’s work as part of a broader trend in precision medicine: the most effective strategies for each individual. That move is part of a broader paradigm shift from the generalist point of view that has prevailed in the healthcare and medical industry in the past. “We’re all the same human beings but at the same time we’re all very different. We’ve seen that treating everyone as if we’re all the same just doesn’t work,” he said.
“We believe that the future of health has to do with deep and advanced personalizatio Continue reading

Life-saving device for type 1 diabetes too expensive

Life-saving device for type 1 diabetes too expensive

A small device has revolutionised the lives of those with type 1 diabetes, including the life of Burnie man Troy Wilkins.
Life-saving: Troy Wilkins will not be able to afford to continue to use CGM technology because of the prohibitive costs. Picture: Sarah Lansdown
Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) is a technology where patients have a small filament inserted into the skin that sends a blood glucose reading to a monitor every five minutes, day and night.
Since trialing the technology through a grant from type 1 diabetes advocacy charity the Danii Foundation, Mr Wilkins said the device has saved his life by alerting him to dangerously low blood sugar levels.
“I had no idea before I started that my blood sugar levels were dropping critically low every single night,” he said.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease which destroys the insulin-creating cells in the pancreas, leaving the patient to rely on daily insulin injections and around-the-clock monitoring. There is no known cause or cure.
While CGM offers the most effective and least intrusive way to monitor the condition and avoid “dead in bed syndrome”, Mr Wilkins said he won’t be able to continue after his trial because the cost is too high.
“I’m worried that I’m not going to wake up the next morning because I’m going to have low blood sugar overnight,” Mr Wilkins said.
The technology costs between $3500 and $6000 per year.
The Danii Foundation was involved in lobbying the federal government for funding of CGM for under 21 year olds.
I’m worried that I’m not going to wake up the next morning Continue reading

'Reverse vaccine' for Type 1 diabetes seems to pass human test

'Reverse vaccine' for Type 1 diabetes seems to pass human test

Attempts at new treatments and cures have focused on suppressing large portions of the immune system — sometimes using powerful drugs developed for other conditions, such as the blood cancer lymphoma. Steinman called this the "big hammer" approach.
"We're trying to do something different," he said. "We want to eliminate just the immune cells that attack the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas."
Steinman and his team designed a molecule that contained the gene for making proinsulin, the precursor to insulin. The molecule also included instructions for triggering the killer cells' response and then shutting it down.
If everything went as planned, the DNA molecule would suppress the killer cells and allow the pancreatic cells to function properly, producing insulin.
After successful trials with diabetic mice, the team prepared to test its vaccine on humans. They selected 80 volunteers ages 18 to 40 who had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes within the last five years. After that time, many Type 1 sufferers have already lost all of their insulin-producing cells, Steinman said. (Although many people with Type 1 diabetes are diagnosed as children, the researchers avoided testing their reverse vaccine on kids because of safety concerns.)
Two-thirds of the study volunteers received the reverse vaccine in one of four doses ranging from 0.3 to 6.0 milligrams. The rest of the volunteers got a placebo. Injections were made once a week for 12 weeks.
Throughout the study, both the experimental and placebo groups also received insulin replacement therapy. All subjects were monitore Continue reading

Call to 'suspend' diabetes drug

Call to 'suspend' diabetes drug

A widely-used diabetes drug should be pulled from the market, European regulators say.
Avandia is used to control blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes patients.
It was licensed 10 years ago and more than 100,000 patients in the UK use it despite on-going concerns linking it to heart problems.
After reviewing safety data, the European Medicines Agency said the benefits no longer outweighed the risks and it should be suspended.
The drug - generic name rosiglitazone - is also used in combination with other drugs under the names Avandamet and Avaglim.
A spokeswoman for the regulator said: "Patients who are currently taking these medicines should make an appointment with their doctor to discuss suitable alternative treatments.
"Patients are advised not to stop their treatment without speaking to their doctor."
It should not take this long to come to a decision when there is evidence that people's lives may be at riskPeter Walsh, Action Against Medical Accidents
But the recommendation in Europe contrasts with the US where regulators have decided only to introduce tougher restrictions over its use - a verdict which they confirmed at the same time as the EMA announcement.
Avandia was originally licensed with warnings about the risks for patients with heart failure.
These were later expanded to include other heart problems after further research into its use.
The advice by an expert panel of advisers, who looked at the issue amid mounting concerns, will now be passed to the European Commission.
It may be several months before they make a final ruling, although it is unusua Continue reading

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