Approaches to Curing Diabetes
- Cellular manipulation by removing the attacking mutation to restore normal pancreatic function
- Possible vaccines to prevent diabetes
- Increased public health surveillance to screen for those at risk of diabetes before they lose their pancreatic function
The T-1 study through Benaroya Research Institute examines tissue samples from people with increased risk of diabetes, which is based on a screen for the presence of islet autoantiboides and the genetic risk for diabetes. Through the application of scientific methods Dr. Marika Bogdani, MD, PhD and her research team at BRI have identified cellular behaviors indicating which individual human samples likely represent early and advanced stages of damage in insulin making tissue inside the pancreas. Her team is researching this cellular behavior with the goal of blocking the agent which damages the pancreas in high-risk individuals. Dr. Bogdani's research shows that people with Type 1 Diabetes have a modified islet cell which produces more Hvaluronan (HA). Her research recently showed these cells are modified earlier before the onset of diabetes in individuals whom have these hostile islet autoantibodies. The very presence of these antibodies is an indication of cellar damage for insulin producing cells. In scientific terms, possessing two or more of these antibodies and the presence of the observed genotype is an indication of increased risk for developing Type 1 Diabetes. There are stages of diabetes before someone requires insulin and the first stage of the disease is the presence of these antibodies. The second stage is called dysglycemia and the third stage is insulin dependency.
A more comprehensive approach would be to screen all school-age children. Since many diabetics do not realize they have the disease until quite late in its gestation, this would provide greater population surveillance of this costly disease. The earlier a person is screened for diabetes the less damage the antibodies can cause to pancreatic function. It is possible to intervene while an individual still has pancreatic function. Earlier diagnosis in disease progression is best.
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