Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

New Plan May Reverse Type 1 Diabetes

Promising Results Seen in Tests on Mice; Human Studies Not Yet Done
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

April 20, 2006 -- Scientists have used a two-pronged treatment to reverse recent-onset type 1 diabetesdiabetes in mice.

The approach hasn't yet been tested on humans, but the results from tests on mice are "encouraging," the researchers write in The Journal of Clinical Immunology.

Damien Bresson, PhD, and Matthias von Herrath, MD, were among the experts who worked on the study. They work at California's La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology.

In a news release, von Herrath mentions a "strong synergy" between the two treatments that were tested on the mice. Combining the two treatments "doubled the efficacy in laboratory mice -- with fewer side effects than using either one alone," von Herrath says.

About Diabetes

In type 1 diabetes, the body's immune system attacks cells in the pancreas that make insulin -- a hormone that controls blood sugar. As a result, the pancreas makes little or no insulin, and patients must take insulin daily.

Nearly 20 million people worldwide have type 1 diabetes, according statistics cited in the new study. Type 2 diabetes is much more common. In type 2 diabetes, the body usually makes enough insulin but it doesn't respond to insulin properly.

Type 1 diabetes typically starts in children or young adults, but can appear at any age. Symptoms include increased thirst and urination, hunger, weight lossweight loss, blurred vision, and extreme fatiguefatigue. If not diagnosed and treated with insulin, a person with type 1 diabetes can lapse into a life-threatening diabetic coma.

Two-Pronged Treatment

The new study included mice that had recently developed type 1 diabetes. The researchers had two goals: Coax the mice's immune systems to stop attacking insulin-making pancreatic cells and boost insulin production.

To calm the mice's immune systems, the scientists gave the mice oral doses of antibodies that targeted certain immune system cells, called T cells, that are involved in attacking pancreatic cells in type 1 diabetes.

By sidelining those T cells, the antibodies also promoted another type of cell, called regulatory T cells (T-regs), which ordered the immune system to leave the pancreatic cells alone. In short, the antibodies spurred the immune system to hold its fire against the pancreatic cells.

The cease-fire was just the starting point. The researchers gave the mice intranasal doses of a peptide (a building block of protein) that boosted protection of the insulin-producing pancreatic cells.

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
jennie brand miller

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner