For nearly a century, insulin has been the only primary treatment option for type 1 diabetes. By teaming up to make a new investment in immunotherapy research, two of the world’s leading diabetes research organizations are aiming to change that.
Last week, JDRF — the United States–based type 1 diabetes advocacy group — announced that it was teaming up with Diabetes UK to award £490,000 (British pounds) to a network of British scientists focused on developing new treatments for type 1 diabetes.
This investment in “the next generation of immunotherapy research” will help expand and improve clinical trials in Britain, with the aim of having a clinical trial center within 50 miles of 50% of the British population so that more people can participate in studies. This, the groups hope, will help speed the process and get immunotherapy drugs to the market sooner
The research network, known as T1D UK, has already completed three clinical trials and is currently operating nine at various stages. Since it began, the network has expanded the number of participants in its trials by a factor of five.
“Immunotherapies would represent a major shift in the way we combat type 1 diabetes, moving us from treating the symptoms to treating the cause,” says Dr. Elizabeth Robertson, director of research at Diabetes UK. “In the future, this could mean we have ways of halting the immune system’s attack in people newly diagnosed” with type 1 diabetes, “and of preventing the immune attack entirely in people at risk” for the condition.
Want to learn more about recent Type 1 diabetes research? Read “Reversing Type 1 Diabetes: New Research From Boston Children’s Hospital,” “Can a Very Low-Carb-Diet Help People With Type 1 Diabetes?” and “Type 1 Diabetes Research: What’s New?”
A freelance health writer and editor based in Wisconsin, Phillips has a degree in government from Harvard University. He writes on a variety of topics, but is especially interested in the intersection of health and public policy.