Novel synthetic compound may prevent type 1 diabetes

Laura Solt
Laura Solt | Courtesy of
A team of researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in Florida recently found that a new synthetic compound prevents type 1 diabetes in animals, which may mean it's equally effective in humans.

Type 1 diabetes is caused by the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells within the pancreas, which is an autoimmune response.

Traditional type 1 diabetes treatments replace the missing insulin, but the results of this new study show that it may be possible to prevent the disease before it begins.

The new compound is called SR1001. It targets nuclear receptors that are instrumental to the production of the immune cells that are connected with type 1 diabetes.

The study showed that SR1001 eradicated diabetes through reducing the inflammation that destroys insulin-producing cells, increasing the Foxp3 expressed in T cells, suppressing Th17 cell production and maintaining insulin at a normal level.

“The animals in our study never developed high blood sugar indicative of diabetes, and beta cell damage was significantly reduced compared to animals that hadn’t been treated with our compound,” Laura Solt, a TSRI biologist and the lead author of the study, said.
“Because Th17 cells have been linked to a number of autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, we thought our compound might inhibit Th17 cells in type 1 diabetes and possibly interfere with disease progression. We were right.”

The study's full findings were recently published in the journal Endocrinology.

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