The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a drug to treat type-1 diabetes. People who are at risk of developing type 1 diabetes may develop diabetes later than usual if this medicine is used. People working to raise awareness about type-1 diabetes have called it ‘ game-changing’. BBC and CNN news.
About 8.7 million people worldwide are affected by type-1 diabetes. In people with type-1 diabetes, the immune system (the immune system, which normally fights bacteria and viruses) mistakenly attacks the important insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
The FDA-approved drug is Teplizumab. Experts say the drug teplizumab has ushered in a ‘new era’ in treatment. It is for the first time addressing the root cause of this type of diabetes rather than just treating the symptoms. When the drug is applied, it normalizes the behavior of the immune system of the human body. This prevents it from mistakenly attacking the insulin-secreting cells of the pancreas.
The role of insulin in the body is very important. It uses blood sugar to provide energy to the body. Currently, blood sugar testing and insulin administration are more important in the treatment of diabetes.
What is type-1 diabetes?
There are two main types of diabetes. Type-1 diabetes and type-2 diabetes. Type-1 diabetes affects the body’s immune system and destroys insulin-producing cells. And in people with type-2 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin or the body’s cells do not respond to insulin.
Type-2 diabetes is more common than type-1 diabetes. Type-2 diabetes can be prevented by making changes in lifestyle including weight loss, and exercise, but type-1 is a genetic disease. So far no way to prevent it has been discovered. Delayed diagnosis of type 1 diabetes can have serious effects on the body. It can lead to dysfunction of the body and even death.
What does teplizumab do?
In 2019, some people who were at high risk of developing type 1 diabetes on the experimental drug teplizumab were found to have developed it a little more than two years later than when they were at risk of developing it.
Experts say this delay is very significant. Especially for the younger ones. Because, during that extra time, they don’t have to take insulin or check their blood sugar levels regularly.
Researchers say people who take this drug have relatively healthy blood sugar levels for longer. Not only that, they can stay free from various complications (including kidney or eye diseases) due to high blood sugar for a longer period of time.
Statements by victims and people working to create awareness
Beth Baldwin lost her 13-year-old son Peter in 2014 due to type-1 diabetes. He died of life-threatening diabetic ketoacidosis. This happened because Peter, who had type-1 diabetes, was undiagnosed. Beth hopes that such drugs can change lives.
However, the drugs don’t completely eliminate type 1 diabetes. Beth said. However, delaying the onset of this disease will also play a significant role. Especially in children.
According to him, by preventing such diabetes for three years, more time will be available such as more research on the patient’s condition. Beth currently works with the charity JDRF UK. The organization is working to raise awareness about the various symptoms of type-1 diabetes, including feeling very thirsty, urinating more often than usual, feeling very tired, and losing weight. The agency also partially funded trials of the drug teplizumab.
Rachel Connor, another member of JDRF UK, said of the drug, ‘It’s a game changer. I think this has ushered in a new era in the treatment of type-1 diabetes.”