University of Colorado School of Medicine researchers have identified a specific molecule that can prevent the development of type 1 diabetes in mice.
The findings has implications in the fight against type I diabetes along with other autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and celiac disease.
Aaron Michels, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics and medicine, working with George Eisenbarth, MD, Ph.D., executive director of the Barbara Davis Centre for Childhood Diabetes at the CU School of Medicine, tested a series of molecules before finding one that stopped diabetes from developing in mice bred to get the disease.
"We found that when you put specific molecules into specific structural pockets you could block the formation of diabetes," said Eisenbarth.
They found that the compound Glyphosine enhanced insulin presentation and prevented diabetes in mice genetically modified to develop type 1diabetes.
It had the same effect on human cells. The mice remained disease-free as long as they received daily injections of the compound.
However, it was not as effective on mice that already had diabetes.
The next step is to focus specifically on human cells to try and develop new therapies for clinical use. That could be at least five years away.
The study published in the latest edition of The Journal of Immunology.