Stopping diabetes with insulin tablets

September 19, 2012

Type 1 diabetes is the autoimmune form of diabetes, in which the patients' insulin-producing beta cells are destroyed by their own immune system.

"We know that if a person has two autoantibodies and one of them is against insulin, there is a 50 per cent risk that they will develop within five years. It doesn't matter how old you are", says Åke Lernmark, Professor of Experimental Research at Lund University in Sweden.

"There are indications that oral insulin may prevent or delay the clinical onset of type 1 diabetes among individuals with autoantibodies against insulin, who are thus in the risk zone", says Åke Lernmark, who will be initiating and coordinating the Swedish TrialNet study.

Åke Lernmark refers to a study presented earlier in the year by American and Canadian researchers. In the study, which ran from 1994 to 2003, participants with relatives who had type 1 diabetes and at least two autoantibodies, one of which against insulin, took either oral insulin or placebo capsules containing an inactive substance. At first, the results were a . Just as many people in the treatment group became ill as in the .

"However, the subsequent analyses showed something different. Among those who had high levels of insulin autoantibodies at the start of the study, the oral insulin had an effect and the development of type 1 diabetes was delayed. The delaying effect lasted for as long as the participants took the insulin", says Åke Lernmark, adding that those who are now being recruited for the Swedish TrialNet study with oral insulin also have high levels of autoantibodies against insulin.

No one knows how oral insulin might stop type 1 diabetes. However, Åke Lernmark believes a possible explanation could be that the becomes accustomed to the low daily doses of insulin in the . The insulin is not perceived as a foreign substance to be rejected by the immune system.

This line of reasoning is the same as for desensitisation for allergies, in which the dose of the substance that provokes the allergy is gradually increased.

The oral insulin study will run for several years and is open to all those who meet the requirements and are aged between 3 and 45.

Explore further: Moving towards a better treatment for autoimmune diabetes

More information: 'Long-Term Outcome of Individuals Treated With Oral Insulin' Published online before print May 24, 2011, doi: 10.2337/dc11-0523

Related Stories

Moving towards a better treatment for autoimmune diabetes

April 9, 2012
Insulin is required for the regulation of blood sugar levels. In type I diabetes, the cells that produce insulin are destroyed by the immune system.

Early intensive diabetes therapy preserves beta-cell function

July 6, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Early, intensive therapy for type 2 diabetes with either insulin plus metformin or triple oral therapy preserves β-cell function for at least 3.5 years, according to a study published in the July issue ...

Diabetes associated with higher risk of cardiovascular problems in men

March 25, 2012
According to a new study by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), men with type 2 diabetes treated with insulin without a history of cardiovascular disease (CVD) were at higher risk for major cardiovascular events ...

Patients with Type 2 diabetes may not benefit from oral medication as well as insulin

April 20, 2012
Patients suffering from type 2 diabetes may not benefit from taking both an oral glucose lowering drug (metformin) and insulin instead of insulin alone, a study published on bmj.com claims.

Recommended for you

Diabetes pill might replace injection to control blood sugar

October 17, 2017
(HealthDay)— An injectable class of diabetes medication—called glucagon-like peptide-1 or GLP-1—might one day be available in pill form, research suggests.

Skimping on sleep may contribute to gestational diabetes

October 17, 2017
The amount of time spent sleeping in the United States has dropped significantly in the past twenty years with almost a quarter of women and 16 percent of men experiencing insufficient sleep. Now, a new study has found that ...

Artificial pancreas performs well in clinical trial

October 16, 2017
During more than 60,000 hours of combined use of a novel artificial pancreas system, participants in a 12-week, multi-site clinical trial showed significant improvements in two key measures of well-being in people living ...

Omega-6 fats may help prevent type 2 diabetes

October 11, 2017
The risk of developing type 2 diabetes could be significantly reduced by eating a diet rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, a new study suggests.

Where there's type 1 diabetes, celiac disease may follow

October 10, 2017
(HealthDay)—Parents of young children with type 1 diabetes need to be on the lookout for symptoms of another autoimmune condition—celiac disease, new research suggests.

Type 1 diabetes and the microbiota—MAIT cells as biomarkers and new therapeutic targets

October 10, 2017
Together with colleagues from AP-HP Necker–Enfants Malades Hospital in Paris, scientists from the Cochin Institute (CNRS / INSERM / Paris Descartes University) have discovered that the onset of type 1 diabetes is preceded ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.