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Type 1 diabetes treated in mice

25 February 2011

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Category: Research & medical benefits

Type 1 diabetes has been treated in GM mice using antibodies. Researchers tested the treatment using an innovative mouse model that mimics the human form of type 1 diabetes. The model was created by introducing human genes into the mice.

Many medicines found to work in the rodent version of type 1 diabetes are ineffective in human trials. The new mouse model increases the chance of success when moving from animal to human trials.

Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, affects people of any age. It is caused by the immune system attacking the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Without insulin the body is unable to regulate blood glucose levels and so patients must take daily insulin-injections. If not properly regulated, sufferers can face complications due to irregular blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar levels can lead to seizures and unconsciousness. High blood sugar can cause long-term damage to organs such as the heart and kidneys.

The antibody, called anti-CD3, was able to stop the immune system attacking insulin producing cells in the mouse model. The antibody removes the cells that destroy the insulin producing cells. The antibody is now undergoing human clinical trials.

Read more about diabetes and animal research here.