Turning a corner in the prevention of Type 1 diabetes

Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK explains why 2019 marked turning a corner in the prevention of Type 1 diabetes but adds that there is still more research to be done in this area

This year marked a significant milestone for Type 1 diabetes. After more than three decades of clinical trials, each one providing important learnings for the next, the research community reached the positive outcome they had been waiting for: it was possible to delay the diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes.

This finding has sparked a wave of new possibilities, but importantly it provides much-needed confirmation that tackling the root cause of Type 1 – the immune attack against insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas – has been the right strategy.

Witnessing Teplizumab, an anti-CD3 antibody, delay the onset of Type 1 diabetes by an average of two years, is the result of a mammoth effort to piece together the underlying pathology of this condition. Each hard-won milestone has been significant; from establishing that the development of Type 1 begins years before the actual diagnosis, to early experiments confirming that anti-CD3 antibodies could prevent Type 1 in mice.

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