-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Feb. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Insulin production may
continue for decades after the onset of type 1 diabetes, according
to a new study.
The findings add to growing evidence that the period of time for
treatment after the onset of the disease is longer than previously
believed, the Massachusetts General Hospital researchers said.
"Traditionally, it was thought that beta cell function completely ceased in patients with advanced type 1 diabetes. However, data from this study and others suggest that the pancreas continues to function at some level even decades after the onset of type 1 diabetes," study leader Dr. Denise Faustman, director of the MGH Immunobiology Laboratory, said in a hospital news release.
Beta cells are a type of cell in the pancreas that produce and
The researchers analyzed blood samples from 182 patients with
type 1 diabetes and found that C-peptide production can continue
for decades after disease onset and remains responsive to blood
sugar levels. C-peptide is a marker of insulin secretion/beta cell
C-peptide levels were lower in patients who had type 1 diabetes
for a longer time, but the decrease was gradual and not the sudden
decline believed to occur in people with the disease.
Even among patients who'd had type 1 diabetes for 31 to 40
years, 10 percent still produced C-peptide and beta cell
functioning remained intact at very low C-peptide levels, according
to the study in the March issue of the journal
Researchers say the new findings suggest that type 1 diabetes
patients with low C-peptide levels or advanced disease may benefit
from new treatments to preserve or enhance beta cell function.
"Our results contribute to a growing body of evidence suggesting there might be a longer window for therapeutic intervention in this disease and also may help explain the transient restoration of insulin production we saw in patients who received BCG (the generic drug bacillus Calmette-Guerin) in our phase 1 clinical trial," Faustman said.
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International has more
type 1 diabetes.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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