Targeted Immune Treatments: New Areas of Interest
By: Mari Yamamoto
Though they show some potential in alleviating the course of the disease, nonspecific therapies for T1D have been shown to have substantial side effects and are often only temporary. Specific, targeted treatments have been shown to have higher therapeutic potential, though there is still a long way to go in terms of research for finding clinical applications. Let’s take a look at some of the recent findings that offer a possible direction for further development.
The circadian clock is well known for regulating natural sleep patterns in our bodies. How does this clock relate to diabetes? A study of this clock has shown that circadian rhythms also are regulators of specific immune functions. Oddly enough, mice that were lacking the clock genes displayed autoimmunity, such as a high level of IgG antibodies and large infiltrations of leukocytes compared to normal mice. Further study into the mechanics of clock, especially relating to immune function, could lead to new therapies.
DREADD stands for “designer receptors exclusively activated by a designer drug”. This technology designs G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), which are excellent targets for developing drug treatments. This paper reviews the use of DREADD technology, and delves into the possibilities for lowering blood glucose levels and improving glucose homeostasis.
Dedifferentiation has been proven to be involved in beta-cell dysfunction and hyperglycaemia, and could be a potential target for treating diabetes. Researchers in Germany investigated streptozotocin-induced diabetes to study beta-cell dedifferentiation in mice. They used oestrogen carried by glucagon peptide-1 (GLP-1) in combination with insulin therapy, finding it had beneficial effects such as alleviation of hyperglycaemia, redifferentiation of beta-cells, and reduction of insulin requirements.
Recap: Though these areas of interest show potential for finding a targeted diabetes treatment, they are nowhere near the level of investigation required. The recent research presented could lead to further breakthroughs in the future.