Diabetes: First Patients Receive ‘Ground-breaking’ Drug That Could Regrow Crucial Insulin-producing Cells

(NEWS WEEK)  , September 12, 2018 — A “ground-breaking” trial of a type 1 diabetes drug that could help reduce the life-altering complications of the disease has begun in Cardiff, U.K.

The first two patients in the world have been given an investigational drug that could regrow crucial hormone-producing cells, researchers have reported. If successful, the drug may reduce patients’ reliance on daily injections.

More than 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, and around 5 percent of those have it in type 1 form. People develop the disease after the immune system destroys special insulin-producing “beta” cells. Insulin is a crucial hormone which moves glucose from the blood into other cells in the body. Type 1 diabetes patients usually treat the disease by monitoring their blood sugar levels and injecting insulin several times a day.

“More insulin-producing beta cells are needed for those with this form of diabetes and it is estimated that 90 percent of patients with Type 1 diabetes have less than 5 percent of insulin-making cells left,” Mohammad Alhadj Ali, one of the study investigators, said in a statement.