Researchers are a step closer to a cure for type one diabetes, with a Melbourne institute finding a way to rewire insulin production in sufferers.
For people with type one diabetes, their immune system destroys pancreatic cells so they need to depend on daily insulin injections.
But the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute has found two drugs that can regenerate insulin production in pancreatic cells damaged by the condition.
The medications, already approved in the United States for treatment of rare cancers, can return insulin production in as little as 48 hours.
Current pharmaceutical options for diabetes treatment control blood glucose levels but they don’t prevent, stop or reverse the destruction of insulin-producing cells.
Lead researcher Sam El-Osta said this new approach could be the first disease modifying treatment for type one diabetes.
It is also a promising solution for Australians living with insulin-dependent diabetes, which is about 30 per cent of those with type two diabetes.
“We consider this regenerative approach an important advance towards clinical development,” Professor El-Osta said.
“Until now, the regenerative process has been incidental and lacking confirmation.”
The Melbourne research was published on Tuesday in the international scientific Nature journal.
More than 530 million adults are living with diabetes across the globe, with that number expected to rise to 643 million by 2030.
(Australian Associated Press)