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1 Aug 2013

Clinical trial suggests type 1 diabetes cure is near

Scientists are confident that they are making progress in the treatment for type 1 diabetes, developing a new vaccine that effectively shuts down the immune system.

A clinical trial has discovered a potential cure to type 1 diabetes,it has been revealed.

The experimental vaccine prevents the immune system destroying cells that produce insulin, which creates an imbalance in a person's natural blood sugar level.

Researchers from Stanford University Medical Centre developed the vaccine to act as an inhibitor of the immune system's natural response to bacteria and viruses.

This could prevent, delay and reverse the lifelong condition, which affects around 2.9 million people in the UK, which does not count a further 850,000 children and adults that are undiagnosed.

"We're very excited by these results, which suggest that the immunologist's dream of shutting down just a single subset of dysfunctional immune cells without wrecking the whole immune system may be attainable," said Lawrence Steinman, professor of paediatrics and neurology at Stanford University Medical Centre.

Karen Addington, the UK chief executive of the type 1 diabetes charity JDRF, welcomed the results, explaining that it was the first time concrete evidence had been established that proves natural insulin production can be preserved.

"This is a significant step forward on the journey towards a world without type 1 diabetes," she said. "We will build on this exciting DNA vaccine approach. Research into type 1 vaccines is a priority for JDRF's multimillion-pound global research programme. But it is early days. Clinical use is still some time away."

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