T1D Research Roundup: October
Every month, we will be rounding up the most exciting T1D research stories from around the world – the new advances in treatment, devices and knowledge that could make a big impact on your life.
Here’s what you need to know in T1D research this month:
A milestone for beta cell replacement
In the US, JDRF-supported company ViaCyte released exciting results for its beta cell replacement therapy. In a clinical trial, researchers showed that the therapy, known as PEC-Direct, can help people with T1D produce insulin again. PEC-Direct consists of pancreatic precursor cells – stem cells that are programmed to grow into islet cells – in a device that can be implanted under the skin.
Can rotavirus switch on T1D?
Vaccinating against rotavirus might also prevent some children from developing T1D, according to Prof Leonard Harrison from the University of Melbourne. Prof Harrison found that the incidence of T1D in Australian children has decreased by 15% since the introduction of a rotavirus vaccine in 2007. JDRF has previously funded research by Prof Harrison’s team suggesting that rotavirus – a major cause of severe diarrhoea in children – may play a role in the development of T1D.
One step closer to an insulin pill
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have made early progress on an insulin pill – a capsule that, when swallowed, delivers insulin into the bloodstream. When the capsule starts to break down, it reveals microscopic needles that inject insulin into the walls of the small intestine. This could make taking insulin a lot more convenient – and with no pain receptors in the intestines, the process is likely to be pain-free.
Looking at genes to predict T1D risk
At the University of Virginia, researchers are developing a genetic test that could identify children at high risk of developing T1D. The test looks at many genetic variations, across many different genes, to give an overall picture of a person’s genetic risk of T1D. Those found to be at high risk can be monitored from an early stage, which could prevent them from developing serious complications like diabetic ketoacidosis.
Detecting complications with “tear testing”
Researchers at UNSW Sydney have found that early signs of peripheral neuropathy can be detected in a person’s tears. Peripheral neuropathy affects the nerves of the hands and feet, and is a common complication of T1D. Early detection is important, but the first signs of nerve damage are notoriously difficult to pick up. Tear testing has the potential to be a simple, non-invasive way of finding those at risk of developing the complication.
Can antiviral medications delay T1D?
A new clinical trial in Norway aims to test whether two common antiviral medications can prevent or delay beta cell destruction in people newly diagnosed with T1D. If successful, this trial will build on previous evidence that viral infections play a role in “switching on” T1D – and show that targeting viruses could be a new way of preventing the condition.
Interested in hearing more about research & clinical trials? Sign up to be a JDRF Game Changer and receive regular updates on the latest T1D research.
If you’d like to see clinical trials that are currently recruiting all around Australia, you can take a look at our Trial Finder here.
JDRF Australia Travel Grants Applications
Applications now open for Round 1, 2023 JDRF Australia is inviting applications for the first round of 2023 Career Support and Travel Grants for domestic and international travel.If you’re an early-mid career researcher or allied health professional travelling between 01 November 2022 and 30 April 2023 you may be eligible to apply. Successful applicants will receive support […]
Plant-based, gluten-free burgers that are T1D friendly, too
Try a T1D-friendly spicy black bean burger recipe, created by clinical nutritionist @naturally_nina_, who also lives with diabetes. These yummy morsels are plant-based, gluten free and are great for burger night, on sandwiches and wraps or even just by themselves. There’s also many ways you can adapt this recipe to fit in with your needs. If […]
Navigating the high school years and type 1 diabetes
When children with type 1 diabetes (T1D) become teens, parents have to balance the fast pace of high school with new social activities and more independence. It’s certainly not easy, but it can be done! Read an extract from JDRF’s Teen Toolkit, a guide for parents of teens living with T1D, for useful strategies for […]