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Immune Response to Insulin Could ID, Help Treat Those at Risk for Type 1 Diabetes
February 8, 2021

Immune responses to insulin could help identify individuals most at risk for developing type 1 diabetes, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Aaron Michels, MD, Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora Colorado, and colleagues collected blood samples from genetically at-risk adolescents every 6 months for 2 years.

Results showed that inflammatory T-cell responses to hybrid insulin peptides correlated with worsening blood glucose measurements and progression to type 1 diabetes development.

The findings indicate an important advancement in identifying the risk of type 1 diabetes early as well as the potential for intervention.

“We wanted to know why people develop type 1 diabetes, and this research has helped provide a lot more information and data as to what it looks like when genetically at-risk individuals are headed towards clinical diagnosis,” said Dr. Michels. “Ideally, you want to treat a disease when it’s active, so this is a need in our field to understand when people have an immune response directed against insulin producing cells.”

“There are now therapies used in research studies that have delayed the onset of clinical type 1 diabetes,” he added. “Patients with these specific immune responses, may benefit from immune intervention to delay type 1 diabetes onset and possibly prevent it for years.”

He noted that although their research focused on diabetes, their results have implications for other autoimmune diseases.

“Understanding how the immune system responds can be crucial in trying to prevent diseases before clinical symptoms are present,” said Dr. Michels.

Reference: https://www.pnas.org/content/118/6/e2019129118

SOURCE: University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus