Researchers from Colorado and Florida have found that a drug commonly used to control blood pressure could have another use: preventing and treating type 1 diabetes.
The new research
— co-authored by Dr. Aaron Michels, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora — will be published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation
Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the beta cells of the pancreas are unable to produce enough insulin, which is the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.
This is believed to be down to an autoimmune process, wherein the immune cells mistakingly attack and destroy beta cells.
Around 5 percent of all diabetes cases are type 1. It is most commonly diagnosed during childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood, but it can develop at any age.
While the exact causes of type 1 diabetes remain a mystery, Dr. Michels and team note that around 60 percent of those who are at risk of the condition possess a molecule called DQ8 — which previous research has linked to the onset of type 1 diabetes.
With this in mind, the researchers speculate that blocking the DQ8 molecule could be one way of preventing type 1 diabetes. In their latest study, they identified an existing drug that could do just that.