Vaccine Shows It Can Boost Insulin
Instead of shots of replacement insulin, a shot of vaccine may help boost the body's own insulin production in type 1 diabetes. In a study, researchers injected 80 people who'd had type 1 for up to five years with a loop of DNA containing the gene for proinsulin, a precursor to insulin. The idea was that proinsulin may encourage the immune system to tolerate the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas instead of attacking them. And it worked, at least temporarily. During the 12 weeks that participants received weekly proinsulin DNA injections, their bodies made more insulin. After participants stopped taking the vaccine, however, insulin production dropped. Future studies will attempt to improve the timing and dosage of the vaccine to see if the benefits can be prolonged and intensified, perhaps improving blood glucose control by boosting insulin production in people with type 1 diabetes or even reversing the condition.
Source:Science Translational Medicine, June 26, 2013