For people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D), establishing insulin independence by implanting insulin-producing beta cells into the body would be life changing. But a challenge to this potential therapy lies in the body’s immune system, which recognizes the implanted beta cells as foreign entities or invaders and subsequently attacks them. Furthermore, the implanted beta [...]
Researchers at the University of Alberta have reported that a two-drug combination, sitagliptin and pantoprazole, can restore insulin independence in some islet transplant recipients with early signs of transplant failure. The effect was not sustained after withdrawal of the drugs; there was lack of evidence for durable effects on beta cell function or increased beta cell mass. JDRF continues to support research to improve long-term islet transplant function and to promote beta cell regeneration in all people with T1D.
The study demonstrates that, under the right conditions inside the body, human embryonic stem cells can be differentiated down the path to eventually becoming insulin-secreting beta cells.
Future tolerance induction treatments that are used in conjunction with islet replacement should factor in both of the major cellular players involved in immune responses, the T cells and the B cells.