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Arthritis drug Abatacept could be used to treat type 1 diabetes

Published on 11/08/20 at 10:11am
Photo by Jessica Merz from Novato, USA

People with type 1 diabetes could see their lives extended by the arthritis drug Abatacept, new study finds.

Researchers at University College London conducted the two year clinical trial which showed that the progression of the disease could be halted for over two years. This was found in one third of patients who participated in the study. Type 1 diabetes sees patients lose insulin over time which shortens their lifespan.

Abatacept preserves the pancreas’s ability to produce insulin which could help diabetics live longer. Researchers want to investigate this drug further and are hoping to collaborate with AstraZeneca on a larger clinical trial.

Lucy Walker, a professor working on the University College London team, told inews: “We’ve found something new and if it holds up with further tests it’s a new paradigm that could potentially be really important. It’s quite a big deal if you can suppress the disease because that not only slows down progression – it also reduces the risk of complications."

Britain has one of the highest rates of type 1 diabetes in the world with 400,000 sufferers, 29,000 who are children. The news surrounding the Abatacept trial has been welcomed by the diabetic community, with Elizabeth Robertson, the Director of Research at Diabetes UK, which also contributed to the research, said: “We could rapidly see this treatment licensed and this could be life changing or many of the 10,000 children and adults diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the UK each year. This would be a huge leap forward in how we treat the disease and in changing lives.”

Conor Kavanagh

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