According to new research, a new drug that suppresses the immune system may slow the progression of type 1 diabetes. An early-phase clinical trial of 10 people aged 8 to 35 years with type 1 diabetes were treated with anti-CD3 mAb, a modified antibody. A 14-day course of the drug appeared to slow the progressive decline in insulin production commonly seen in type 1 diabetics.
Patients with type 1 diabetes eventually lose the ability to produce insulin entirely and rely solely on injected insulin to maintain control of their good sugar levels. However, the 12 patients treated with anti-CD3 mAb produced more natural insulin and needed less injected insulin one year after treatment they untreated patients. Researchers believe the drug works on the immune system's destructive T-cells, and effectively suppresses the immune cells involved in the development of diabetes. They believe it also helps to retain insulin production well into the course of the disease.
Kevan Herott, M.D., of Columbia University, felt that, the goal of this trial was to induce tolerance to the beta cell, which is the target of autoimmune destruction in type 1 diabetes. This was in effect achieved, because the clinical effect we saw persisted long after patients had finished treatment with the anti-CD3 antibody.