Have Boston Researchers Found Type 1's Root Cause?

| Jul 7, 2013

Will people with type 1 diabetes ever see an end to their need for insulin?

For adults, that prospect doesn't seem too likely. But new research from Boston Children's Hospital generates genuine hope that by the time they are grownups, the 215,000 children in the United States currently living with type 1 diabetes will be able put away their insulin kits for good.

Researchers there have found what they believe is the root cause of type 1 diabetes: A molecular pathway, called ATP/P2X7R, triggers immune system attacks on the pancreas, making it unable to produce insulin.

The study started out as an attempt to determine why the body rejects pancreatic cells, either as a misguided immune system attack on a person's own cells or on transplanted cells. "In order to truly cure diabetes, we needed to pinpoint exactly why this happens," said lead researcher Dr. Paolo Fiorina of the Nephrology Division at Boston Children's Hospital. 

Identification of the molecular pathway that leads to type 1 diabetes is only a first step.

 "With the cause identified, we can now focus on treatment options. Everything from drug therapies to transplants that require less immunosuppression is being explored," said Fiorina in the Boston Children's Hospital's online blog. Later, treatment will focus on outright prevention.

If successful therapies emerge from the Boston research, type 1s ultimately could put away their insulin. "Insulin injections can manage hyperglycemia by reducing the patient's glucose levels, but they are not the cure," said Fiorina.

Even with insulin injections, type 1 patients deal with a host of long-term complications ranging from kidney and heart disease to blindness, making the treatment less important than determining the reason why the body stops producing insulin in the first place.

The research is currently being tested on animals, specifically mice, with human testing still several years away. Research results first appeared late last year in Diabetes, the journal of the American Diabetes Association.

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: ATP/P2X7R, Insulin, Molecular Pathway, Type 1


Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • What's on the Horizon with Diabetes Research and Therapy
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Latest
Popular
Top Rated

Latest Molecular Pathway Articles

Print | Email | Share | Comments (2)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Comments

Posted by kdommer on 11 July 2013

I have a somewhat different view - having been diagnosed as Type 1 at the age of 13 and working very hard the last 40 years to remain healthy (with great success!), I see this as a very positive step for future generations. We will keep fighting the good fight!

Posted by Anonymous on 11 July 2013

So, nobody's perfect --- quit complaining!Start looking at what is right with your life. (We all have bad days when we wish we didn;t have diabetes --- but let this be ONLY ONE of those days, not your life-style choice.)


Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...


Username: Password:
Comment:
©1991-2014 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.