REDIFFERENTIATING BETA CELLS TO TREAT TYPE 1 DIABETES

 

 

All cells serve a specific purpose, and each one plays an integral role in the function and survival of the human body. However, in individuals with type 1 diabetes, insulin-producing beta cells are destroyed leaving the body unable to self-manage glucose levels. Scientists have been trying to determine exactly why this occurs, and how to stop, prevent, or reverse it for years. Each day they learn a little more.

A recent study out of Germany examines dedifferentiation of beta cells as a potential cause for type 1 diabetes.  Researchers believe that insulin-producing beta cells may lose their identity, which in turns causes a regression in function.  They sought to target the affected cells using diabetic mouse models to see if they could redifferentiate the beta cells back to normal function, or at least preserve existing function if regression is caught early.

To do this, they invoked diabetes in mice using streptozotocin but left some functional beta cells. Then, they administered a combination of Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and estrogen in conjunction with long-acting insulin.  The drug was directed to the dedifferentiated beta cells, and results showed that this combination treatment helped to “normalize glycemia, glucose tolerance, to increase pancreatic insulin content and to increase the number of beta cells.”  They also found that when GLP-1/estrogen was used together, rather than each substance on its own, human beta cells also showed improved function.

The mice in the study showed no signs of systemic toxicity even when high doses of the drug were administered.  This could help to ease the way when the treatment is ready to be used in human trials. Researchers want to further explore whether this treatment could be used as a form of regenerative therapy to redifferentiate dedifferentiated beta cells and stimulate insulin production. If type 1 diabetes was detected early on, the therapy could potentially be used to slow or stop cell regression.

This study could change the way that some researchers approach their work and inspire new studies aimed at treating or curing type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) supports early-career scientists in pursuing this type of work by providing necessary financial resources. With proper funding, scientists can move forward with their projects and improve not only understanding of the disease, but also treatment options.  The goal is to one day discover a cure.

ADVANCES IN THERAPEUTIC TREATMENT FOR TYPE 1 DIABETES WITHOUT IMMUNE SUPPRESSION

 

 

 

One approach that researchers have been exploring to treat type 1 diabetes is cell therapy. By introducing new insulin-producing beta cells or other types of cells, scientists strive to support the body in once again producing its own insulin. A common challenge with this technique is that it often has limited results as the body once again attacks the cells, or they slowly lose function on their own. In addition, cell therapy typically requires immune suppression which can put individuals at risk for other complications.

However, in a recent study, researchers tested a new method of transplanting therapeutic cells by using a retrievable device with a silicone reservoir. The cells are further protected by a porous polymeric membrane that allows macrophages to enter the device without destroying the transplanted cells, or that prevents them from entering at all.

When tested in immunocompetent mice, the device supported normoglycemia for more than 75 days without the need for immunosuppression. The transplanted cells were able to effectively produce erythropoietin, which in turn improves oxygen supply to the body, and also generates insulin to manage blood sugar levels.

This is a notable step forward in improving cell therapy for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. More research and testing are required to determine how this process translates into human models. Researchers have been trying to limit or eliminate the need for immune suppression while transplanting healthy pancreatic, islet, and stem cells into the body to control blood glucose levels.

Dan Anderson, Ph.D., a member of the Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) Scientific Review Committee, is the senior author of the article published regarding these findings. DRC is excited to see where these advances may lead and what it could mean for the future of cell transplantation techniques and cell therapy for type 1 diabetes. The organization provides critical funding for a wide range of projects related to improving diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of the disease.

 

The source: https://diabetesresearchconnection.org

SCIENTISTS FOUND A WAY TO GENERATE INSULIN-PRODUCING BETA CELLS

 

More than one million people in the United States are living with type 1 diabetes according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is a strong push to improve management of the disease and find a cure. The more researchers learn about T1D, the more precise their prevention and treatment methods become.

A recent study reveals that improvements in stem cell therapy have reversed T1D in mice for at least nine months and, in some cases, for more than a year. One of the challenges that scientists have faced with using human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) is that it can be difficult to zero differentiation in one specific type of cell. Often multiple types of pancreatic cells are produced. While there may be an abundance of cells that scientists want, the infiltration of excess cells that are not needed diminishes their impact (even though they are not harmful).

Scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found a way to generate insulin-producing beta cells without creating as many irrelevant cells. Their approach focuses on the cell’s cytoskeleton, which is its inner framework. Through this process, they were able to produce vast amounts of beta cells that are able to normalize blood glucose levels.

When transplanted into severely diabetic mice (blood glucose levels above 500 mg/dL), the cells effectively reversed the effects of diabetes and brought blood sugar levels down into the target range within two weeks. Normoglycemia was maintained for at least nine months.

This is a major step forward in stem cell therapy and the use of hPSCs to potentially cure diabetes one day. There is still more testing and research that needs to be done before this approach is applied to human trials.

Ongoing research is essential for finding a cure for T1D. Diabetes Research Connection supports these efforts by providing critical funding to early-career scientists pursuing novel research studies on the disease. By giving them the means to complete their projects, these researchers can continue to advance knowledge and treatment options.

The source: https://diabetesresearchconnection.org

Dexcom Launches Crucial Patient Assistance Program As Result of COVID-19 Pandemic!

Dexcom Launches Crucial Patient Assistance Program As Result of COVID-19 Pandemic!

The COVID-19 pandemic has put immense pressure on both individuals with T1D, and the organizations who provide them with vital supplies and medications. While there’s no doubt that people with T1D face a more uncertain and risk-filled future as we navigate quarantine and social distancing, there have been some promising steps from several sides that have eased burdens and continue to help those who are struggling.


One of the most vital elements of care and population health for those with T1D is meeting a continued need for medical supplies and vital prescriptions such as insulin, injection devices, and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs_. To this end, many of the prominent pharmaceutical and device companies in the T1D sector have taken extraordinary measures to help their customers and clients.
In response to the crisis, Dexcom, a technological leader in continuous glucose monitoring (CGM)systems and diabetes care have announced welcome news for people with T1D: A new patient assistance program to aid current U.S. customers who have lost insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The program will offer eligible customers two (2) ninety 90-day supply shipments, with each dispatch including one transmitter and three boxes of sensors at just $45 per 90-day shipment.


“As unemployment rates continue to rise, we want to help our customers who rely on Dexcom CGM systems to manage their diabetes but have lost insurance coverage due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kevin Sayer, chairman, president, and CEO of Dexcom. “Access to Dexcom CGM systems has never been more important than it is during this pandemic, and we are committed to taking care of our customers as best as we can during these challenging and uncertain times.”


The Dexcom COVID-19 patient assistance program will be available to current U.S. customers who have lost insurance coverage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers that are eligible for coverage of their Dexcom CGM systems under a federal or state government program (such as Medicare, Medicaid, or VA benefits) are not eligible to participate in this program. The program will launch in the next several weeks and will be available for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
For the latest information about the patient assistance program, customers can visit dexcom.com/assistance.