Type 1 diabetes happens when the body’s immune system destroys cells that make insulin in the pancreas. This reduces the insulin levels in the body. So, people suffering from this problem have to constantly monitor their blood glucose levels, and manage those levels through insulin injection.
For approximately 20 years, researchers from Finland’s University of Tampere have been exploring a drug that can protect the body against a virus that triggers type 1 diabetes. After this prolonged research, scientists have been able to identify a virus called “Coxsackievirus B1” as playing a part in causing some cases of the disease. The virus triggers an autoimmune reaction that causes the body to destroy cells in its own pancreas.
The hard work has led to a great success, as the researchers have created a prototype vaccine. The team is very hopeful since trials of the drug have been effective on mice. They plan to begin human clinical trials by 2018.
Dr. Daniel Anderson, professor of applied biology at MIT, said, “We are excited by these results, and are working hard to advance this technology to the clinic. We believe (the cells) have the potential to provide insulin independence for patients suffering from this disease. It has the potential to provide diabetics with a new pancreas that is protected from the immune system, which would allow them to control their blood sugar without taking drugs. That’s the dream.”