New Type 1 Therapy Promises Long-term Diabetes Reversal in Humans and Dogs

Purdue University, in collaboration with the Indiana University of Medicine, has released initial results on the first minimally invasive therapy to successfully reverse Type 1 diabetes within 24 hours and maintain insulin independence for at least 90 days, a preclinical animal study shows.

The therapy injects under the skin a collagen formulation mixed with pancreatic cells which then acts as a mini-pancreas while the islet cells are active. This approach is much less invasive compared to transplanting islets into the liver, which is the traditional method. The blood in the skin is receptive to collagen. Thus this therapy is much more effective in transporting the islet cells and removes the need for multiple donors needed to compensate for islets killed by the immune system.

Treatment for diabetes in dogs and humans is largely the same meaning that both may benefit from the same cure. As context, about one in every 100 companion animals in the US live with diabetes. Pet owners are looking for better alternatives to reduce the stress of frequent insulin shots for their pets. The group is also working on a pilot clinical study in dogs with naturally occurring T1D in hopes that this would provide greater insight into the treatment’s potential effectiveness in humans.

The team is working on introducing a new set of pancreatic cells to replace clusters of islet cells. Insulin would be packaged within a solution containing collagen and delivered as an injection through the skin.

Researchers compared the effects of the treatment between mouse twins and non-twins. Most islets were transplanted successfully in both cases. Transplanting pig islets programmed to produce insulin is being explored in hopes that this will further increase donor availability.


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