People suffering from type 1 diabetes can possibly be cured even years after the original diagnosis was made.
This is the conclusion of research conducted by Professor Bart Roep from the Leiden University Medical Centre who published his findings on Tuesday.
Professor Roep discovered that people suffering from type 1 diabetes still have insulin-producing cells, albeit dormant. His discovery negates earlier research which concluded that these cells are completely absent in type 1 diabetes patients. If these cells can be reactivated the patient could be cured, even as long as 10 years after the original diagnosis was made.
In type 1 diabetes, antibodies attack the insulin-producing cells. Professor Roep has determined exactly which antibodies are involved, “enabling the development of a vaccine which specifically addresses these malfunctioning antibodies.”
An estimated 50,000 patients in the Netherlands would benefit from such a vaccine. For the time being, researchers are still engaged in the preliminary stages of development.
Preventative vaccination, as is common practice for certain types of meningococcal bacteria, is still far off, according to Professor Roep. His research was partly funded by the Diabetes Fund.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide
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