‘Paradigm shift’ in type 1 diabetes shows new drugs which could delay disease’s emergence

Scientists may have been looking in the wrong place for a cure to type 1 diabetes after a new study claims to have found “a paradigm shift” in treatment.

Researchers have found the disease could be kept at bay in animals by clearing out defective insulin-producing cells.

Drug development has previously been focused on preserving these “beta cells” by preventing the immune system wiping them out, but US researchers say their findings turn this on its head.

“This is a paradigm shift for T1 diabetes therapy,” said Professor Anil Bhushan of the University of California, San Francisco, who led the study published in Cell Metabolism. “These data suggest the problem may not be an immune system gone awry. Instead, perhaps therapies should find a way to do the job the immune system is failing to do: clear the senescent cells early on.”

The team found evidence that type 1 diabetics have a problem with the DNA repair that causes beta cells in the pancreas to stop functioning properly and leak signs of damage onto their neighbours – known as secretory senescence.

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