Amazing new research shows that scientists have been able to reverse Type 1 Diabetes in mice during its earliest stages. This is exactly the kind of news we need to be sharing a Friday afternoon.
The science itself is pretty tricky but let’s walk through this together. Type 1 Diabetes is an immune disorder where the body’s T cells target and destroy insulin-producing beta cells. This is why Type 1 was referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes. The senior study author Roland Tisch, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology at University of North Carolina, was looking for a way to keep the body’s T cells “in check.”
Recent work using depleting antibodies destroyed all T cells and left the immune system weakened. Plus, the solution wasn’t permanent and the body’s attack on insulin resumed once more T cells were functioning. So Tisch and his team decided to use non-depleting antibodies that could attach to a certain part of the T cells without destroying them all together.
Still following along here? Awesome.
So what did they find when they used the non-depleting antibodies in non-obese mice that had been recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes? Jackpot! In the study’s words:
In some of the recently diagnosed NOD mice, blood sugar levels returned to normal within 48 hours of treatment. Within five days, about 80 percent of the animals had undergone diabetes remission, reversal of clinical diabetes.
That, my friends, is really amazing news! It’s not humans and it’s obviously going to take a lot more research to figure out how productive this treatment could be for people, but this is definitely progress. It’s a breakthrough and it should be celebrated as one!
There’s still work to do. This treatment might only work for people who have recently been diagnosed, which means that early detection would be crucial. And obviously, there’s a lot of steps in between successful test on mice and implementation for humans. But that doesn’t put a damper on the hope inspired by research like this. Dr. Tisch and his team should all be supported and encouraged in their amazing findings and in their future work. It’s exciting to see what they’ll find next.
On Friday, there are really only two types of blog posts that I’m happy to see: pictures of adorable animals and amazing medical breakthroughs. Anything else should really hold off until Monday when I’m prepared to think about what’s happened. Friday’s just aren’t for thoughtful news analysis. But they are for celebrating great news. And guys, this is really great news!